A cruise ship has been quarantined in Norfolk, Virginia due to a major norovirus outbreak.
The Fred Olsen Cruise Line owned Balmoral left Southampton, England on April 16 on a 34 night “Old England to New England” cruise and arrived at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center in Norfolk where no one has been allowed to leave.
According to the ship’s captain, no one had been allowed to leave the ship on its previous stop in Bermuda either and the last time anyone was allowed off the ship was over a week ago on April 30.
This is a severe outbreak of norovirus as by Wednesday, April 27 153 out of the 917 passengers had gone down with the virus and six of the 158 crew although the ship said that by Friday, April 29 only seven people were still in isolation.
The ship said that they had carried out protocol when they were aware of the outbreak with increased cleaning and disinfection, collection of stool samples for testing, daily reports of the cases and the quarantining of passengers and crew who showed symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say their environmental health officers will board the ship when it reaches its next port of call which is Baltimore on either April 30 or May 1 to evaluate the outbreak and the response of the crew and the cruise line.
Fred Olsen has said that they believe the illness was brought onto the ship by a passenger which is what they also said was the case when there was a major norovirus outbreak in May 2015 when the ship was forced to return a day early from Norway as so many were ill and to carry out deep cleaning. In 2010 there were 250 people sick with norovirus on board and in 2009/2010 there were three other outbreaks over a 12 month period affecting 541 people in total