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Norovirus Outbreaks Declining on Cruise Ships

January 29, 2009 By: David Eisen

Few things are worse than contracting norovirus, or stomach flu—particularly during a cruise vacation. Not only do you lose your fun, but you are, oftentimes, quarantined to your cabin where repeated bathroom trips and the occasional saltine nibble is your regimen. Well, there's good news, according to the USA TODAY: outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships are on the decline. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that, in 2008, there were 15 outbreaks of the ghastly stomach bug; in 2007, there were 21. The numbers are declining, even though more people took cruises in 2008 than 2007.

An analysis by USA TODAY's Cruise Log showed that almost all of the 2008 outbreaks were due to norovirus, while was also was one outbreak of E. coli, on the Pacific Princess in January of 2008, and one outbreak that was the result of both norovirus and E. coli on the Norwegian Dream in April. 

The cruise industry, in recent years, has been unfairly maligned by many in the media, who are quick to demonize the cruise lines for the cases of norovirus, particularly the cleanliness of the ships. As anyone who has stepped foot on a cruise ship knows, crew takes painful measure to ensure cleanliness. Norovirus breakouts can be found, just as often, in hotels, schools and other places where there is a high concentration of people.

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