According to an article in June5 issue of the Anchorage Daily News, passengers aboard cruise ships, tour bus or trains are being affected by a Norwalk like virus. The symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. Passengers affected by the virus have tended to recover in a day or two. While the virus has been detected in the north portions of a cruise, it is felt that the germs will be carried southward.
Several years ago there was a wide spread flu epidemic that started in Anchorage and ranged to Ketchikan affecting cruise ship passengers.At that time the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended a medication called" Amantadine" that did not prevent the flu but alleviated the annoying effects of the flu. The medication is inexpensive but requires a prescription from your doctor. We never go to Alaska without it but have never had to use it. It may work with the Norwalk virus? Ask your doctor to be sure.
This is not all the bad news. In the Fairbanks area they are beset with swarming mosquitos. Alaska alway has mosqitous this time of the year. . These pests are usually carried far and away by wind so it might be advisable for those cruise ship passengers who have a balconey to make sure the door to the balconey is kept closed while the ship is docked.
Hanna.. what you might want to note for the sake of supplying facts rather than sensationalize is ONE ship has thus far had such an outbreak.. the Ocean Princess, and it basically reacted like a 24hr virus.
Not that those who were effected didnt feel ill, but IT WAS NOT on all cruise ships, trains, boats and airplanes, as you suggested.
But then why should we let facts get in the way of spreading doom and gloom <G>
Virus Strikes Princess Guests
The “Norwalk Virus” struck some passengers on Ocean Princess last week as the ship sailed from Seward to Vancouver. The illness affected 81 passengers and 36 crew -- about 4 percent of the 2,040 passengers and 852 crew who were on board -- and was reported promptly to both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health Canada. Norwalk Virus is a highly contagious gastrointestinal affliction -- in this case moderate -- whose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. It is spread very easily in contained areas -- cruise ships can be an easy target -- by person-to-person contact as well as through the air.
The numbers of those who fell ill on this particular voyage were amazingly low, says Health Canada’s Jamal Harb. “Credit has to be given to Princess for implementing strict preventive measures,” he says. “This kind of virus has a high attack rate and usually affects a lot of people.”
On Princess’ part, the ship, mid-cruise, immediately went to “level 2” sanitation, which calls for more intense -- and more frequent -- cleaning with stronger-than-usual disinfectants. Beyond that, staffers are distributing information to passengers on board all of its ships in Alaska that suggest precautionary tips -- “wash hands frequently and attempt to always use your own cabin's facilities” -- among others. It has also asked travel agents to alert their Princess/Alaska-bound clients.
Harb says that Norwalk Virus has been making the rounds in British Columbia and Alaska and that it appears passengers were already suffering from the illness when they boarded the ship in the first place. “We saw there were cases on the first and second day of the cruise,” he says, noting that the virus takes between 24 - 48 hours to show up in the first place.”
Health Canada -- the Canadian equivalent of the U.S.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- is in daily contact with Ocean Princess’ health officers throughout the next voyage, which left Vancouver Saturday and is due to arrive in Seward a week later. Jamal says the “numbers are very low on this current cruise because of Princess’ preventative measures.”
Princess spokesperson Denise Seomin confirms Harb’s report, saying “we have had a small percentage of cases across other cruises/Princess ships in Alaska, but the numbers of those affected is continuing to fall, and the situation appears to be mostly contained.”
This was quoted above:
"It is spread very easily in contained areas -- cruise ships can be an easy target -- by person-to-person contact as well as through the air. "
I'm not sure who made that comment, but one gets Norwalk viruses from eating infected food or from contact with the (infected) feces of people who have ingested infected food. It isn't spread by hand contact or droplets in the air. The passengers most likely all got it from the same source (eating infected seafood) rather than from spreading it amongst one another themselves.
I will be going on the Ocean Princess on July13th to Alaska. I am concerned about the Norwalk virus. I asked a psychic friend what foods to stay away from. She told me to stay away from lettuce, pork, and foods with mayonaise; like potato or macoroni salad. She told me the fish would be okay. But, I always make sure the fish and shell fish is well done.
I am writing this message for people who believe in psychics. For those of you who
don't believe in psychics please respect my
beliefs. It won't hurt me to follow that advise. I have a very sensitive stomach and I hate getting ill on contaminated foods. I am very careful what I eat when I travel.