Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships skyrocket to highest levels in a decade: CDC data

Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships have skyrocketed in 2023 โ€” with the number of cases already exceeding that of any year over the past decade, according to recent figures.

Since January, there have been 13 outbreaks across six different cruise lines โ€” the most since 2012 when there were 16 on eight lines over the entire year, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In one case in June, at least 13% of the 838 passengers on a Viking Cruises trip from Iceland to New York reported symptoms characteristic of norovirus.

Nine crew members on that ship โ€” the Viking Neptune โ€” also reported symptoms.

Norovirus is one of the most common viral illnesses on cruise ships, and is also one of the most frequent culprits in cases of basic food poisoning, according to CBS News.

The highly contagious virus causes gastroenteritis, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Viking Cruises Ocean line
Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships have skyrocketed this year.

On a Celebrity Cruises voyage in May, 7% or 152 of the 2,144 passengers were infected, and 2.6% or 25 of the 963 crew members contracted the virus.

Another case in May saw 246 or 12.4% of the 1,971 passengers contract norovirus, and 38 or 4.6% of the 826 crew members.

In a Princess Cruises voyage onboard the Ruby Princess, nearly 10% of the 2,881 passengers reported symptoms characteristic of norovirus.

It remains unclear what might be causing the surge in cases. The CDC did not respond to requests for comment from The Post.

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