Originally Posted by bellajolie
Read a great article at abc.com which gave lots of good info on the Norovirus
and how to avoid it.
-See how your specific ship rates at the CDC
(If you cannot find your ship under individual ship names, search by cruiseline, and it should be listed there)
-The Norovirus is so potent, because, "Additionally, the infection dose of norovirus is very low. It takes only 10 particles of the virus to make you sick, as opposed to the 100,000 particles of salmonella you would have to be exposed to in order to get sick. "
-Ways to avoid the virus include, Wash your hands well with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand gel, and bring disposable disinfecting wipes to wipe down doorknobs, phones and other surfaces in your cabin. (thought this probably was a great idea since rooms may not get disinfected with the same attention to detail as frequently used public and food areas). Also, be very careful when caring for someone who is ill with norovirus since it is so highly contagious. Bodily fluids can transmit the infection.
-The virus spreads through food, water, contaminated surfaces and person-to-person contact. The reason it could be so hard to get rid of on a cruise ship is because people can also bring it on board and it can live on surfaces for more than a week. Cruise ships often visit places that have poor sanitation, so passengers can easily catch it from a restaurant they visited at a port. (so take that hand sanitizer with you when you visit ports areas!)
I am often asked to teach cruise ship sanitation classes for the Vessel Sanitation Program of the CDC.
The VSP is the group that records, investigates, and reports on illness outbreaks on ships.
The VSP also conducts twice yearly surprise inspections of cruise ships that stop in US Ports, and publishes the ratings you mentioned above.
One of the biggest mistakes the public makes is somehow equating the VSP Inspection scores and Norwalk Virus Outbreaks.
If you carefully go over the VSP Inspection Scores and the Norwalk Virus outbreak histories on the CDC website, you will discover that many of the ships getting the highest inspection scores also have the highest number of virus outbreaks.
Conversely, many of the older ships receiving lower CDC Inspection Scores have never had a single Virus Outbreak.
THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CLEANLINESS.
Many of the newest ships are generally getting the highest scores - due to better design and construction.
The CDC Inspections are looking primarily at dishwashing temperatures, food preparation and handling procedures, swimming pool management, and potable water storage. They even inspect life-saving equipment at the swimming pools.
They DO NOT cover passenger handwashing, toilet cleaning, hand sanitizers, stateroom cleaning, handrail polishing, or elevator button sanitizing. These are the very areas where Norwalk Virus happens.
The newest ships are also generally the largest ships. Larger ships, carrying more passengers, have a better chance of outbreaks due to the statistically higher number of people bringing it onboard with them. Bigger ships - with much more inside volume and many more areas to clean - are also more difficult to disinfect.
If your ship receives a high Inspection score, you can be sure that you will be able to safely drink the water, and your meals will not poison you.
BUT if a group of passengers raised by wolves decides to sail with you on that same ship, NOTHING can stop them from contaminating the area with a virus.