After spending nearly a month at sea, the Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess had to make an emergency docking in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 17 due to an outbreak of the Norovirus, which infected approximately 172 people aboard the cruise.
The ship, which was returning from Hawaii and Tahiti, began experiencing a surge in sick passengers upon its return as the Norovirus quickly spread predominately amongst passengers with only 14 crew members sick out of the total 172 people infected.
In response to the growing attention, the media has been giving the outbreak, Susan Lomax, a Princess Cruises spokeswoman (in an email interview with CNN) stated that,“ Over the last few days, the ship began seeing an increased number of gastrointestinal illnesses caused by Norovirus (commonly referred to as the stomach flu. In response, we have enacted our stringent disinfecting protocols developed in conjunction with the U.S. Centres for Disease Control (CDC), which includes an extensive deep cleaning of the ship and the terminal in Los Angeles on Sunday before the ship embarks on its next voyage.”
“As it is the cold and flu season, when the stomach flu circulates on land, we encourage all of our guests to be diligent in following the widely accepted practices of frequent hand washing with soap and water and the use of hand sanitizers,” said Lomax.
The Norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in people and is responsible for killing nearly 200,000 people each year, though this mostly occurs in under-developed countries and is predominately seen in children and the elderly.