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  #1 (permalink)  
Old November 22nd, 2002, 06:01 PM
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Default illness aboard cruise ships

I am concerned about reports of Stomach viruses aboard the Disney Magic, Holland America's Amsterdam.

Have they determined the source of these illnesses? Is sewerage seeping into drinking water? Are crew members not following hygienic procedures with food preparation? Handwashing after using restrooms, must be strictly enforced.

Merely scrubbing the ships may not be enough. A complete examination of the onboard sewerage treatment systems should take place.
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Old November 22nd, 2002, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Barb,
It looks to be too widespread to be any one cause and as far as I know it would be totally impossible for potable water onboard a ship to come in contact with non-potable water, much less sewage. It is a common illness just as simple as the common cold and is spread the same way. It just happens to be the 'story' of the week. It is ver6y unfortunate and a pretty tough illness that can and does make people feel very ill and distressed, but it isn't fatal and just 'oneademthings' unfortunately.
Jim

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Old November 22nd, 2002, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Any time you put 3000 people on a ship some of them are gonna be sick. This particular virus is one that apparently spreads rather easily and continues to inflict passengers and crew cruise after cruise.

The Amsterdam has cancelled the next sailing to try to break the cycle. The ship is being disinfected right now. Hopefully this will stop the spread of the virus.

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Thomas
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Old November 22nd, 2002, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: illness aboard cruise ships

I was curious about the spokesman's comments on "breaking the cycle". He said the virus was being passed from the passengers on one cruise to those of the next. Not sure how that would happen. Just what are the passengers of one cruise doing with the passengers of the next?

Sounds like this has been going on since October. One infected passenger refused to stay in his room. They gave him a suite, then posted a guard.

Found it amusing that one passenger thought the ship was doing all it could when she was told to wash her hands every five minutes.

If both ships are getting a thorough chlorine scrubdown, how long will it take for the taste and smell of chlorine to leave the ship?
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Old November 22nd, 2002, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Just a thought, but it most likely was passed from passenger to crew, then crew to new passengers and back again...which removing all passengers and crew to throughly clean the ship should break the cycle....just a guess

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Old November 23rd, 2002, 12:21 AM
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Default Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Barb, it may not be the ship or crew at all. Could have been a passenger who brought the virus on board to begin with, and as another poster said, infected a crew member who passed it on. Who knows? It could have been caught by someone on a plane, passed on to someone else on the ship, the guesses are endless. But to speculate about raw sewage getting into the drinkling water is something else. Not likely that that could happen, especially on different ships.

People get sick everyday. When something happens on a ship for some reason, it seems to get more coverage. If a ship has a crew and passenger count of 2000 and 100 get sick, that means 95% did not have a problem but you only hear about the 5% that did.
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Old November 23rd, 2002, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

I rather doubt you'd smell anything since an effective bleach solution is about 3 parts per billion of water. In our restaurant we (and all those others which are in compliance with Health Regulations) wipe down the kitchen each night with this solution. It is not strong enough for you to smell the chlorine but it is strong enough to kill any viruses or microbes.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old November 23rd, 2002, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Jim Bragg said this is not fatal. If you throw up for 8 hrs as one guy on TV said he did, it could be fatal to a Senior Citizen. Especially if you end up the pneumonia from it. I wouldn't make such a BROAD statement. Do you want to go on that ship now? I sure don't!!
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Old November 23rd, 2002, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Did you notice it took a couple days for the story to catch hold? Now it plays every hour on cable news. Wonder if this is what is called "making a story".
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Old November 23rd, 2002, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

On the Amsterdam, for the last 4 sailings, there were a total of 7,648 passengers and crew. Out of that many, there were 454 passengers and 70 crew for a total of 624 people who reportedly were affected.
That leaves 7,024 who were NOT affected, or about 92%. But yet, it's the very few who get the attention. This virus is not something new, as it has popped up off and on in the past, to different lines and ships. Naturally no one wants to get it and I am not trying to downplay it but people need to be realistic about this.

You can catch anything just about anywhere in this day now, due to the fact that people can and do travel so much more and can really be on one continent this morning and another for supper.

Regarding Disney, wasn't there about 3200 people (pax and crew) altogether on the ship and a little over 100 cases? In other words, there were about 97% of the people who had no problem.
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Old December 4th, 2002, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: illness aboard cruise ships

whats the possibility that people start getting the flu shots at this time of the year? from what i understand it actually infects you with the virus. many people take it and get sick afterwards.could this have spread onto different ships by so many people taking it, not to mention the normal carriers of the flu. think of the times you touch after so many people on ships. just the elevator button along would about do it!!!
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Old December 4th, 2002, 08:42 PM
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Default Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Hi Bud!
It is a MYTH that you get the flu or sick from the flu shot! That is simply NOT TRUE! Those people who do get sick are sick because they were going to be ill anyway, it has nothing to do with the vaccine.! The only thing you might be able to get from a flu shot is a little redness/tenderness at the injection site.
There are a FEW people who might be allergic to the flu vaccine, but those people are the ones who tend to be allergic to eggs! It is the people who don't get the vaccine who pass the flu around.....not those of us who prevent the flu with the vaccine!!!!
I will never let the winter season pass without being vaccinated! If you are not allergic to eggs........Join the crowd!
Cathy

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Old December 5th, 2002, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Is it possible that cruisers are staying in the same pre-cruise hotel and picking up the virus there -- and taking it on board the ship with them?
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Old December 5th, 2002, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

I got the flu shot for the first time this year but just heard on a Canadian news station that this year's flu shot will NOT protect you from the Norwalk Virus.

There was a good article in our newspaper today about Viral Outbreaks. There has also been some TV news coverage and not all of it points to the cruise ships. Larger than usual outbreaks of Norwalk Virus or other types of virus related to Norwalk are being reported on shore this season in nursing homes, schools and other places where there are many people together. There are definitely many more cases of it than usual this year for some reason. If there are that many more cases on land, you can be sure that there will be that many more cases on the cruise ships.

A virus like that is definitely going to spread with incredible ease on a cruise ship. All it takes is just one person to board the ship with the virus.

Sailaway
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Old December 5th, 2002, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Delores, are you a senior citizen, do you have a compromised imune system or are you ill? If your answer is no your chances are remote that anything will happen to you. If you do get sick, two days is the limit. I'm diabetic and my immune system is compromised. I'd sail tomorrow if somebody would pay for it. The only "illness" I have is the usual preChristmas lack of funds, .

Carole
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Old December 5th, 2002, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Cathy,
I can't dispute your feeling but here is a fact to chew on. October 12, 1976 nine states stopped allowing people to receive shots for the 'Swine' Flu as four people had died after developing the flu after receiving the shots. The flu shots are also not recommended by most Doctors and medical publications for the adult healthy individual as the chances of becoming ill or having serious side affects out-weigh the benefits.
Jim

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Old December 8th, 2002, 02:03 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Ok Jim...you got me on the "Swine" flu vaccine, which is a rare instance OVER 25 years ago! Surely you can come up with some article more recent than that scare tactic.
I beg to differ on MD's recommending the flu shot. In fact, they more often than not recommend the flu shot. No, they aren't recommended for everyone, but if you say the flu is easier to deal with than a flu shot in most cases ....you are saddly mistaken! I work in a hospital and deal with the flu on a daily basis this time of year. It is not to be taken lightly. Most of the patients who get sick say they will be the first in line for the flu shot next year!!!!
At the hospital I work in, we get our vaccines at no charge for employees and family. Believe me when I say I have no qualms about putting myself and family in that line with our sleeves up. I will not take the chance on my family being so ill they can't raise their heads from their pillows except to cough so hard they break a rib!
Please stop trying to scare people away from the flu vaccine. Of course all vaccines have precautions and warnings (as do any medications), and yet we still line up our children for all of the other vaccines...PPD, MMR, etc.
Sorry if I sound a little disgruntled but trying to scare people by statements about a vaccine over 25 years ago just ruffles my feathers!
Cathy

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Old December 8th, 2002, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Here's a link to some information on myths of flu vaccine
http://my.webmd.com/encyclopedia/art...16377#hw121895


Something in the url wont let it post as a link, so you'll just have to clip and paste.

Regards,
Kuki



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Old December 8th, 2002, 06:03 PM
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Default Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

THANKS Kuki!!! Good link!
Cathy



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Old December 8th, 2002, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Cathy,
I never said it was a bad idea to get the shot nor do I wish to scare people away from getting them. My contention was that you said nobody has every gotten the flu from the shot. That is exactly what they get, a very mild case of the flu from what I understand and that builds immunities. The information was not meant to be a scare tactic by any means, just a factual example that it has occured.
Jim



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Old December 8th, 2002, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: illness aboard cruise ships

Jim,
Whoever told you that the flu shot gives you the flu is COMPLETELY WRONG! People DO NOT get the flu from the vaccine! It is myths like you are spreading that scare so many people!!! I am not here to argue about the flu vaccine. I just wish people understood the facts before they start spreading misinformation like you are doing. I don't know what your line of work may be, but pharmacology is my field and you are way off base.
Please read below and stop making blind statements about the vaccine. The key words are: The flu antigens (LOOK) like the flu virus to our immune system!!!
Rxforsure

Flu Vaccine
This is the time of year when, if you see your doctor, you may be encouraged to get a flu vaccine. If you see a doctor and don't hear about the flu vaccine, you should ask. If you don't have a doctor, now might be a good time to think about getting one.

The "flu" refers to influenza A, an upper respiratory infection due to a virus. The virulence, or strength of the flu strain varies every year. The illness caused by the virus is never pleasant, but when the strain is very virulent, the illness can be severe. Although the flu, per se, generally does not cause death, as many as 20,000 deaths may occur in the US due to flu during a year when the strain is virulent. These deaths generally occur in the very young, the very old, or those with chronic illnesses, especially respiratory illnesses. Complications of the flu, including death, are more common in smokers than non-smokers.

Most of the deaths that result from flu infection can be prevented with a vaccine. Unlike most other vaccines, the flu vaccine must be redeveloped by the Centers for Disease Control every year. This is due to the phenomena of antigenic drift and antigenic shift. An antigen is a protein on the surface of a virus that our immune system recognizes as foreign, and attacks. In the case of the flu virus, the surface antigens tend to change slightly from year to year (drift) and occasionally change abruptly (shift). A vaccine works by priming our immune system to attack the virus by stimulating it with viral antigens. The flu antigens in the vaccine look like the flu virus to our immune system. After the vaccine, if we are exposed to the flu., our immune system launches a quick and effective attack, and the virus is killed before we get sick. Without the vaccine, it takes our immune system several weeks after exposure to develop a good defense against the virus, during which the virus has the upper hand and makes us good and sick. The antigens in the vaccine must match the antigens on the virus to be effective. Since the viral antigens change every year, so, too, must the vaccine.

I'm sure many of you will find this hard to believe, but the flu shot does not cause the flu. I'll say that again: the flu shot never causes the flu. This is because the vaccine does not contain live virus. It only contains some viral proteins, and these cannot replicate or cause disease.

Everyone knows someone who swears they got the flu after the flu shot. The problem is, we often to refer to any severe upper respiratory illness as "the flu" (while referring to referring to less severe cases as "a cold"), and viral upper respiratory infections are common in the fall when the flu shot is given. If you get a viral infection shortly after getting the flu shot, you may assume it is due to the vaccine, even though it is not. The flu shot can not, has not, does not, will not cause the flu.That doesn't mean it is totally risk free. The vaccine is generally injected into the shoulder, and it can make your shoulder sore for several days. It is unlikely, but possible, to have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This is especially true for people with allergies to eggs, who should not be vaccinated. The risk for everyone else is less than 1 in 10,000.

While virtually anyone wishing to avoid the flu should consider a flu vaccine, it is especially important for those individuals susceptible to severe complications of the flu. Everyone over age 65 should have a flu shot every year. Every one with chronic illness such as diabetes or kidney failure should have a flu shot. So should everyone with significant asthma, lung disease due to smoking, or a history of severe flu or flu complications. Health care workers should be vaccinated yearly.

The flu shot is safe and effective. The flu is at best an unpleasant experience, at worst, downright deadly.

David L. Katz, MD, MPH

Preventive Medicine Column

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