Thought this article was very informative.
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.