While to some this may be old news, during June23 to July 5, 2000 there was an outbreak of respiratory illness on the Holland American cruise ship, the Rotterdam. The vessel was on a 12 day cruise from London to Russia with intermediary stops at various European ports. Sixty three crew members and fifty four passengers were diagnosed as having Type B Influenza. The average age of the affected crew members was 32; for the passengers, 68 years. No mention was made in the report by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention whether there were more passengers experiencing respiratory illness since the count seems to include only those that visited the ship doctor.
The ship doctor and staff seem to have undertaken medical detective work to determine the source of the flu may have been a 78 year old patient, a U.S. citizen who boarded the ship in London, ho was ill when she boarded the ship. A more complete copy of the CDC report can be obtained from that government agency or in the Apr 11, 2001 issue of JAMA(Journal of the American Medical Association.)
The CD points out for "summertime influenza outbreak can occur when traveling in large groups such as aboard cruise ships. Influenza can occur even in regions not subject to summertime outbreaks. Passengers should consider receiving influenza vaccine before travel with a large organized tourist group at any time of the year; when going to the tropics or to the Southern Hemisphere from April to September. "
Whenever we take a cruise we take along a prescribed medicine recommended by the CDC that does not prevent the flu but relieves affect of the flu. You should consult with your physician about this type of medication..