When you purchase a vacation on a cruise ship, you expect the ship to be clean and for the food to be prepared safely. There are many health and safety regulations in place to ensure you are not exposed to dangerous bacteria and viruses. However, something must have gone wrong on the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas in January. The ship had to return to Port Canaveral, Florida earlier than expected due to a gastrointestinal illness that spread quickly throughout the ship. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program, 561 passengers became ill and 31 crew became ill. This accounted for more than 10 percent of the total passengers and crew onboard. The Oasis of the Seas is a newer ship and holds more than 8,000 passengers and crew.
In many cases, norovirus is uncomfortable and inconvenient. However, gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships can become serious, especially for children, the elderly, and passengers with weakened immune systems. If you suffered harm on a cruise ship because you contracted a serious virus or bacterial infection, contact our Miami cruise ship lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. You can reach us through our online form or call (877) 475-2905 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Norovirus?
According to the CDC, norovirus is a highly contagious virus. It is technically a virus in the Caliciviridae family, which causes acute gastroenteritis. This is inflammation in the stomach and/or intestines. The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. There are currently at least 33 different types of norovirus, and each type can make you sick. The CDC states individuals can develop an immunity to a type of norovirus, but it is short lived. Within a few months or years, you can become infected and ill again.
For most individuals, norovirus symptoms begin within 12 to 48 hours after exposure. The symptoms can then last one to three days, and a majority of individuals recover without treatment. Most require rest and hydration. However, the virus can also cause severe dehydration, which necessitates medical care.
If you are suffering from norovirus, the May Clinic recommends going to a doctor if your diarrhea does not cleat up in several days, or if you are suffering from severe vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration, or have blood in your stools. Complications associated with norovirus can require hospitalization, and in rare cases, can lead to death.
2018 Cruise Ship Outbreaks
The CDC closely tracks illness outbreaks on cruise ships. In 2018, there were 11 recorded outbreaks of norovirus, rotavirus, E. coli, and other unknown illnesses. Holland America Group has outbreaks on two of its ships. The other cruise lines that had outbreaks were Viking Ocean Cruises,
Crystal Cruises, V. Ships Leisure U.S.A., Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Azamara Club Cruises, and Princess Cruises. This year has already witnessed two outbreaks. The Viking Ocean Cruises outbreak lasted into the new year, and now the Royal Caribbean International outbreak occurred between January 6 and 13th.
Contact Our Miami Cruise Ship Lawyers for Help
If you or a loved one contracted a virus or bacterial infection onboard a cruise ship and had to be hospitalized, contact Gerson & Schwartz P.A.’s highly experienced cruise ship attorneys in Miami at (305) 371-6000. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the outbreak and advise you of your legal rights. Depending on the circumstances, such as if there is evidence of negligence by the cruise ship crew or regulatory violations, you may have a legal claim. We can help you pursue compensation for your injuries.