Over 150 Reported Ill on Star Princess

Star Princess
Image Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Published May 12, 2015 7:57 PM by Kathryn Stone

Over 150 people have been reported ill on the Star Princess, the latest cruise ship afflicted by an outbreak of norovirus.

The 108,800 gross ton Princess vessel was on a 15-day Hawaiian cruise when reports of the outbreak surfaced. Of the 2,597 passengers aboard the cruise ship 138 have reported symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. An additional 18 crew members have also reported being sick. 

This incident marks the ninth case of wide-spread sickness aboard a passenger vessel this year and the sixth confirmed case of norovirus. 

Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis or infectious diarrhea in the world. While not typically fatal the virus does contribute to 56,000 – 71,000 annual hospitalizations in the U.S. The CDC reports instances of the virus are more common in winter months and in the UK the virus often goes by the name the winter vomiting bug. 

It is most commonly spread by close contact with infected persons, surfaces or contaminated food and water supplies. Cruise ships are especially susceptible to outbreaks due to the closed natured of the communities onboard. 

Less than a month ago the CDC reported that sickness aboard another Princess cruise ship, the Coral Princess, was caused by norovirus. Over 110 people aboard the vessel were reported ill back in the end of April. 

The Star Princess will be returning to San Francisco California on May 14 where a team of two CDC health officers and two epidemiologists will meet the ship. Princess cruises has been collecting samples of the virus to send to the CDC and will carry out a comprehensive sanitation plan when the vessel docks on Thursday.