I agree that one of the biggest areas of concern that everyone should be very aware of are the tongs and spoons used on the buffet line. After going through the line, we'll always reapply hand sanitizer before eating. This may help explain why, in 48 cruises, we've never had norovirus (knock on wood).
But as was stated, most people have the false idea that norovirus can only be contracted on a cruise ship. Obviously, this could not be further from the truth since, as the story pointed out, only 1 percent of those who get the disease, get it on a cruise. And last year only about 1500 people out of 20 million who cruise got the disease. What was not stated is that norovirus is the second most common virus in the world next to the common cold.
What they don't understand is that the law only requires cruise lines to report norovirus outbreaks even though that is such a very minute part of the infestations. People get the virus in malls, on airplanes, in the airport, at school, in libraries, etc., and then bring in onboard the ship. And of course as soon as the press hears about this, they blow it way out of proportion and scare the hell out of those who don't understand how it all works.
When was the last time you saw anyone disinfect the railing on the escalator at the mall? A CDC investigation once found that the number one place they found the most germs in a restaurant was on the menus. Do you wash your hands after handling the menu and before you reach for the bread?
Simply stated, especially for new cruisers, you just need to be aware of what you do with your hands when in public areas. If you push the elevator button with your finger, then don't use that same finger to wipe your eyes.
Common sense will save you from suffering from the virus, but you need to protect yourself all the time, not just on cruise ships.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/13 yrs exp and 48 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
I couldn't agree more with Pete--when people cruise, the virus is brought aboard with someone and then quickly spreads--when you go to Walmart, Kroger, Target or wherever, you never think about getting sick--I see people daily walk into these stores, grab a cart and walk right past the hand sanitizing wipes and never think about grabbing one and wiping down the cart. How many hands have been on that cart that day and what all have all those hands been handling? Then a day or two later they get sick and never in a million years think they got it at the store---but if it's on a cruise ship, it's bigger news than if a space ship landed by the White House.
I always grab a couple of those sanitized wipes and give the cart a good wiping down when I go to the store and on the way out, I'll get a couple and wipe my hands down again. And too, how many people think about when you pump gas? How many hands have been on that pump handle and where all have those hands been?
I'm not paranoid and some say it doesn't help to use the hand cleaner but it sure doesn't hurt.
And too, We always clean our hands after handling the menu and salt / pepper shakers on a ship or any restaurant, as those items are never cleaned. It may not keep you from getting sick but I think it sure cuts down on the odds a lot.
But, like I said--people get sick from picking up something from the store, gas station, etc. and never connect that it was probably picked up there--but if 3,000 people are on a ship and 100 get sick, according to the media, the end of time is near !
and while I'm on my box, ( please don't knock me off it just yet )
I think there's usually a certain number of people who get sick from too much food and drink, especially drink. I think we've all seen people get very drunk and be sick and having tummy trouble for a day or two--I think that happens more than you may think--- but it gets blamed on the cruise line rather than someone not having enough sense to know when enough is enough. Thank you for letting me stand on my box --I'm off now.
Happy sails to all.
Did you know that Code Red is not necessarily an outbreak?
CDC requires that any cruise ship sailing anywhere, exceeding 2% reportable GI cases must also go to Code Red procedures - AND report the numbers twice daily in a special report to the CDC. Anytime a cruise ship returns to a US port, the US Public Health Service holds surprise inspections. Those inspections include audits of all onboard Medical Clinic paperwork. If at any time, the ship was in excess of the 2% GI threshold and did not report to CDC or go to Code Red, there are fines and penalties involved.
Most cruise lines go to Code red procedures if they see 6 or more GI cases within 24 hours. Even on a small ship, 6 cases is well below 2%.
CDC requires any ship from any cruise line that sells tickets in the USA or calls at any US port MUST report any GI numbers that exceed 2% at any time - no matter where the ship might be sailing. But that does not mean that the CDC will report those numbers to the public.