(85) Avoiding Norwalk and Other Viruses

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(85) Avoiding Norwalk and Other Viruses

Contrary to rumor, Norwalk virus is not a cruise ship virus. Noroviruses are a common group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis, sometimes referred to as “stomach flu.” The Norwalk virus is highly contagious and spreads quickly in any location where people are in close proximity, but you are much more likely to contract a Norwalk virus in your daily workplace or at school than on a cruise ship. In fact, cruise ships are the only public venue that must report Norovirus outbreaks. Workplaces, airplanes and hotels are not required to report Norovirus outbreaks.

Cruise lines practice proactive virus outbreak prevention through daily sanitizing of public areas like stairway rails, elevators and public restrooms. Many ships provide a bacterial hand gel dispenser at the entrance to shipboard buffet areas. However, the biggest key to decreasing your chance of contracting the Norwalk virus (at sea or at home) is basic personal hygiene. Wash hands frequently and use bacterial hand gel liberally. If you are not feeling well, stay in your cabin and avoid exposing other cruise guests.



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Christina Chan