Think of it as a warning.
As the weather warms and thoughts turn to holidays, the first of this year’s cruise ship tummy bug outbreaks hits the headlines.
Two San Diego-based cruises to Central America and back at £1,000 a pop just for starters. Sick at sea again.
The onboard tummy bug
Norovirus again – and from the looks of it, full-on gastro. Holiday dreams of a fortnight afloat, sunk in a gut-wrenching nightmare. The price of an unguarded moment maybe in a super-cool cantina in Puerto Quetzal or Puerto Vallarta – where the locals have cast-iron tummies and the turistas drop like flies.
Avoidable, yes. The tacos de frijoles have a certain reputation.
But more likely hygiene issues in an misadventure off the beaten track.
And norovirus is highly contagious.
Get back to the ship before the symptoms set in – an enclosed space shared by 3,000 people – and the inevitable happens, everyone is sick.
Because who remembers to wash their hands and take precautions when you’re having fun? And when it’s difficult to find a place at all until you get back to your cabin?
By then of course, it’s too late. Whoever you touched, whoever you shared food and drinks with – the gastro takes hold like wildfire.
Stop it happening again
OK, the cruise people can’t stop the wayward adventure.
But they CAN minimise the outbreak and control the spread – prevent it reaching all 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew. Fewer people need to fall sick.
Because this is not the first outbreak on either of the ships, Celebrity Infinity or Legend of the Seas. And gastroenteritis is a major recurring onboard sickness as stressed in the US Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) own schedule for Vessel Sanitation.
A weighty document, it details exactly how a cruise ship should be sanitised after an outbreak. The hard way, by rubbing and scrubbing.
“After both ships docked, crews went to work scrubbing down every inch of the cabins and common rooms.”
Not necessarily that effective. If you think of all the inaccessible nooks and crannies that exist on a cruise ship, there are thousands of places a virus could lurk, even after a deep clean sanitation blitz.
Nor can the ship’s HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air conditioning system do much to filter out the virus. Norovirus cells measure 0.04 microns, but the minimum size a HEPA system can filter out is only 0.3 microns.
Even though the ship has been thoroughly processed, norovirus can survive on hard surfaces for seven days or more.
By which time the ship is back in Central America in the middle of its next cruise – all ready for the new crop of passengers – with no clue where the new outbreak is coming from.
Which is why the Hypersteriliser is so vital.
The super-fine plasma airborne mist it generates is ionised.
Actively charged, every molecule is vigorously trying to escape from its neighbour. It spreads everywhere by force – the molecules rushing to fill the whole air space and jamming up hard against every surface – underneath, behind, everywhere.
And of course, deep into cracks and crevices.
Even better, the actively charged mist is attracted to viruses and bacteria like a high-powered magnet – grabbing them and ripping them apart by shoving oxygen atoms at them.
No germ can survive, the ship is sterilised. Any source of infection now is brought on board as food or cargo – or on the persons or in the baggage of newly joining passengers.
No bugs next time
No norovirus, no bugs of any kind. Nobody coming down sick. Your holiday is safe.
You might want to mention that to your cruise line before you embark.
Two weeks is a long time to be ill when you’re not seasick.
Originally posted 2015-04-15 11:01:37.