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February 24th, 2010

Massive Outbreak of Disease on Cruise Liner; 300 Passengers Feared Ill

The past couple of weeks have had maritime lawyers receiving the kind of cruise news that almost makes us vow never to set foot on a cruise liner ever again.  Or at least not till they can raise hygiene and sanitation standards on these vessels.

This week comes the distressing news that 300 passengers on a Celebrity Cruise ship in the Caribbean have fallen ill. USA Today is reporting on an outbreak of a “norovirus like illness” on the Celebrity Mercury that set sail from Charleston on the 15th of February.  Approximately 300 people on the cruise liner or roughly 15 percent of the passengers have fallen sick. According to a Celebrity Cruise spokesperson, the vessel’s medical facilities have not been able to handle the large demand for doctor services, and an additional doctor and nurse have now been called in.

By any account, 300 people sick on board a cruise liner is a matter of grave concern, and we will be hoping that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention takes a serious view of this.  Norovirus infections can quickly manifest themselves as diarrhea and vomiting.  At the earliest indication, precautions can be taken to limit the spread of the epidemic, and prevent the illness from spreading. Why did this not happen here, we have to wonder.

It was the second time in recent weeks that a Celebrity cruise liner has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Also this month, seven crew members on a Celebrity cruise line that was docked at Baltimore were sickened by carbon monoxide poisoning. All had to be treated for their injuries, although none of symptoms were reported to be life threatening.

The most tragic cruise-related incident in recent days was the death of a woman aboard the Carnival Ecstasy.  The 32-year-old woman’s body was found in her room.  She has been identified as a resident of Brazoria County. An autopsy has been conducted, and we should have a cause of death soon.

For press contacts on cruise ship toxic exposure or injury, contact Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers for a free evaluation of your case.

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