When did this become so commonplace? Every time I turn around, I’m hearing about a scenario just like this:
By the time Carnival Cruise Lines’ Liberty pulls into Port Everglades this weekend from a transatlantic voyage, more than 700 people on board will have been afflicted with a highly contagious, stomach flu-like illness that appears to be norovirus, the cruise line said Wednesday.
The outbreak could be the largest reported in recent years by the cruise industry.
“It’s impossible for now to say what the source is,” said David Forney, chief of the cruise ship sanitation program at the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said it’s likely passengers brought the virus with them when they boarded and it spread from there, but U.S. inspectors will look at whether food or water contributed to the outbreak.
As of Tuesday, 556 guests and 154 crewmembers on board the Liberty had reported symptoms lasting one to three days, according to a statement issued Wednesday by Carnival Cruise Lines. The Miami-based company said the ship is carrying 2,804 paying passengers and 1,166 crewmembers.
The ship, currently on a 16-day tour that began Nov. 3 in Rome, is scheduled to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.
The outbreak began within 24 hours of the departure and raged the strongest during the first five days while the ship was crossing the Atlantic Ocean, Forney said.
I guess this puts a real damper on all those lovely midnight buffets. There’s nothing like going to bed on Italian night with a bellyful of fettucine alfredo, a half-dozen prosciutto rollups, four slices of tiramisu, and a solid serving of the crapalots.