Norovirus Outbreak on Disney Cruise Spreads to Crew Members

An outbreak of Norovirus on a Disney Cruise ship has spread to 131 passengers and 14 crew members.

A Caribbean cruise from Miami to the Bahamas was ruined for 131 passengers and 14 crew of the Disney Wonder when they were struck down with vomiting and diarrhoea between 27th April and 1st May, later found to be attributed to an outbreak of norovirus on the ship.

The outbreak of disease was immediately reported to U.S. Center for Disease Control, and as a consequence the cruise ship was boarded by environmental health officers on its return to Miami. An investigation was launched to review the outbreak and the company´s response and care of the passengers.

The ship operators informed the environmental health officers that an increased cleaning and disinfection schedule had been implemented in accordance with the cruise ship´s outbreak prevention and response plan. Furthermore, stool specimens had been collected for testing from affected passengers and crew members for further analysis.

The Center for Disease Control analysed the stool samples and confirmed that the illnesses were attributable to norovirus – a common and highly contagious form of gastroenteritis that can be transmitted quickly in confined environments. Environmental health officers are still trying to locate the origin of the outbreak on the ship.

The operators are handling requests for refunds on a case-by-case basis in an attempt to prevent an overload of people seeking compensation. Some of the affected passengers are also being offered credits for future cruises.

Disney cruise injury claims are rare. The most recent outbreak comes fourteen years since the last recorded outbreak of norovirus on a Disney cruise ship. On that occasion hundreds of passengers fell ill on two Disney Magic cruises from Port Canaveral. The lack of Disney cruise injury claims has been attributed to staff handing guests hand wipes when they enter dining areas.

This is the tenth outbreak of norovirus on a cruise ship that the Center for Disease Control has investigated and confirmed this year.