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Norovirus “Season” Is Upon Us

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January 17, 2014: The Majesty of the Seas.  (Source: CBS4)

January 17, 2014: The Majesty of the Seas. (Source: CBS4)

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Healthwatch

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The “season” for norovirus, a gastrointestinal illness, has arrived in South Florida.  Norovirus outbreaks can occur throughout the year. But, more than 80% of the outbreaks occur from November to April according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A “sick ship” arrived at Port Miami, Friday, but the Majesty of the Seas was quickly sanitized and sent back out to sea according to Royal Caribbean officials.

A press release stated 66 of 2,581 guests and 2 of 84 crew members experienced the illness that was thought to be norovirus.

The ship had just completed a 4-night Caribbean cruise that included Nassau, CocoCay, The Bahamas and Key West.

Royal Caribbean reports enhanced cleaning took place onboard the ship, to help prevent the spread of the illness. Additionally, when Majesty of the Seas arrived to Port Miami, an extensive and thorough sanitizing onboard the ship and within the cruise terminal was conducted to help prevent any illness from affecting the next sailing.

Each year, the CDC reports norovirus causes 19-21 million illnesses and contributes to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths. It is also considered the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States.

The CDC reported that in 2012, a new strain of norovirus was detected and impacted many countries. The GII.4 Sydney strain is considered the current leading cause of norovirus outbreaks in the United States.

Symptoms of norovirus include:

Diarrhea

Throwing up

Nausea

Stomach pain

Other symptoms include:

Fever

Headache

Body aches

The CDC recommends:

Washing hands often

Rinsing fruits and vegetables

Cooking shellfish thoroughly

Cleaning surfaces and washing laundry

And if you are sick, don’t prepare food or care for others to prevent them from getting sick too

For more information about norovirus, click here.

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