A CDC report released yesterday confirms that the illness reported aboard Princess Cruises Line’s Coral Princess is norovirus.
The Coral Princess was on a Panama Canal voyage, departing from Fort Lauderdale April 12 and arriving in Los Angeles April 27, when passengers started reporting symptoms of the sickness. In total, 99 passengers and 12 crew members reported being ill aboard the voyage.
The norovirus infection is highly contagious and causes gastrointestinal distress including vomiting and diarrhea. The virus is frequently found in closed conditions such as those aboard cruise ships and can be transmitted by infected people or contaminated food, water and surfaces.
This incident marks the sixth case of widespread sickness on a cruise ship in the US and the fifth confirmed norovirus outbreak on US passenger vessels in 2015. About two weeks prior to this incident, the Legend of the Seas was also hit by an outbreak of norovirus. In 2014 a Time Magazine article detailing the worst norovirus outbreaks cited the Coral Princess for a February 2009 outbreak that infected 271 people.
Princess Cruises and the Coral Princess crew responded to this most recent outbreak by increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures and by keeping passengers updated on the outbreak status and preventative measures. On April 27, the CDC conducted an environmental health assessment and evaluated the Cruise Line’s response activities.