Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
Clin Infect Dis. 2011 May;52(9):1116-22. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir144. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

Disease transmission and passenger behaviors during a high morbidity Norovirus outbreak on a cruise ship, January 2009.

Author information

  • 1National Center for Immunization, and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. mwikswo@cdc.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Norovirus continues to pose a significant burden on cruise ships, causing an average of 27 confirmed outbreaks annually over the past 5 years. In January 2009, the report of a suspected norovirus outbreak among passengers on a cruise ship prompted an investigation.

METHODS:

A retrospective cohort study among passengers was conducted on board the ship. Questionnaires about health care-seeking behaviors, hygiene practices, and possible norovirus exposures were placed in every cabin. Stool samples from several ill passengers were tested for norovirus by quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and confirmed by sequence analysis.

RESULTS:

Of 1842 passengers, 1532 (83.2%) returned questionnaires, and 236 (15.4% of participants) met the case definition. Of these, 95 (40%) did not report to the infirmary. Case passengers were significantly more likely to have an ill cabin mate (relative risk [RR] = 3.0; P < .01) and to have witnessed vomiting during boarding (RR = 2.8; P = .01). Over 90% of all passengers reported increased hand hygiene practices following the outbreak; 38% of ill passengers and 11% of well passengers decreased participation in public activities. Of 14 samples tested, 12 were positive for norovirus by RT-qPCR; 5 of these were confirmed by sequence analysis and typed as GII.4 Minerva.

CONCLUSIONS:

Person-to-person transmission, including an incident of public vomiting during boarding, likely contributed to this high morbidity outbreak. Infirmary surveillance detected only 60% of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases involved in this outbreak. Adjustments to outbreak reporting thresholds may be needed to account for incomplete voluntary AGE reporting and to more rapidly implement control measures.

Comment in

PMID:
21429864
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk