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Cruise ship scrubbed for Norovirus, leaves Tampa for Caribbean

The Holland America Line's Oosterdam, with features including the Erasmus Library, was thoroughly sanitized after a Norovirus outbreak and left as scheduled Friday for its next cruise from Tampa. [Courtesy Holland America Line]
Published Nov. 18, 2016

TAMPA — A Holland America cruise ship departed from the Port of Tampa for a trip to the Caribbean on Friday after being scrubbed for a suspected Norovirus outbreak on it's previous trip.

The ms Oosterdam was sanitized then inspected by workers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before it left as scheduled for a seven-day western Caribbean cruise.

A number of passengers aboard the ship became ill with symptoms consistent with Norovirus on a 15-day trans-Atlantic cruise that departed from Civitevecchia, Italy, on Nov. 3, according to a statement from Holland America.

Norovirus is circulating throughout North America and can be easily transmitted if personal hygiene is not maintained, the company said.

Of the 1,843 passengers and 796 crew members on board, 86 passengers and 18 crew became ill with vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC. Holland America said only one passenger continued to exhibit symptoms.

The cruise line enhanced its sanitation procedures once the virus began to spread, officials said. Railings, door handles and elevator buttons were disinfected, passengers were told to wash their hands and use hand-sanitizing gels placed throughout the trip, and those exhibiting symptoms were confined to their cabins.

Incidents of Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships are rare, affecting an estimated 0.008 percent of all cruise ship passengers, Holland America said in a prepared statement.

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