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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Noroviruses The Bane Of Cruising


CDC definition : “Noroviruses (genus Norovirus, family Caliciviridae) are a group of related, single-stranded RNA, nonenveloped viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. Norovirus was recently approved as the official genus name for the group of viruses provisionally described as “Norwalk-like viruses”

Succinctly, get a norovirus and barf your guts out. I’m not a fan of ralphing. I do not worship at the temple of the porcelain god. The idea of taking a vacation and spending 24-48 hours with my arms wrapped around a toilet just seems horribly, horribly wrong. Consequently I have great sympathy for the poor folks who did just that on several recent cruises. Mercury as an example.   The record-holder for bad trips in 2009 was Holland America. Its fleet delivered seven different outbreaks on five different boats.

According to an article in the AARP magazine, (Yeah, embarrassingly enough I read it but just for the pictures.), Holland America spent a whopping 5 hours sanitizing the ship before bringing the new suckers, I mean customers on for the next cruise.

Face it, cruise ships are fun but you are cheek to jowl with a whole bunch of folks. I would think that the cruise lines could pay, at least, more than a cursory attention to sanitary procedures after an outbreak of prolific heaving and diarrhea. Perhaps some of the folks unfortunate enough to deal with a bout of norovirus should be jumping up and down rather than meekly accepting their dismaying experience. You can bet that a cruise booked by the American Bar Association would get far more cleaning than the cruise lines dismal average.

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