Celebrity Cruises Equinox has an outbreak; pathogen unconfirmed

According to CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, the Celebrity Equinox has a bunch of ill folks on it and it will be back in port tomorrow for public health specialists to investigate.

Voyage Dates: February 13 – February 23, 2015

Number of passengers who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of passengers onboard: 95 of 2896 (3.28%)Unknown-9

Number of crew who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of crew onboard: 7 of 1209 (0.58%)

Predominant symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea

Causative agent: unknown

Actions: In response to the outbreak, Celebrity Cruises and the crew aboard the ship reported the following actions:

– Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan,

– Making announcements to notify onboard passengers and crew of the outbreak, encourage case reporting, and encourage good hand hygiene,

vomit-cruise1-226x300– Collecting stool specimens from passenger and crew gastrointestinal illness cases for testing by CDC,

– Making twice daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the VSP,

– Sending corporate management public health, hotel, housekeeping team to assist the onboard management with infection control response plan,

– Is consulting with CDC on plans for their comprehensive sanitation procedures in Fort Lauderdale, FL on February 23, 2015, including:

– providing additional cleaning crew to complete a thorough public and accommodation super-sanitization cleaning and disinfection,

– planning staged disembarkation for active cases to limit the opportunity of illness transmission to well guests, and

– planning for sanitation of terminal and transport infection control procedures.

Three CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers and one epidemiologist will board the ship in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) on February 23, 2015 to conduct an environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities. Specimens are being collected and will be tested by CDC to determine the causative agent for this outbreak. 

This entry was posted in Norovirus and tagged by Ben Chapman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.