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January 12th, 2012

Trial for Norovirus Vaccine Yields Promising Results

Every year, more than 20 million people in the United States suffer from norovirus poisoning. Many of these persons are on vacation on a cruise ship when they contract the infection. In fact, norovirus poisoning can spread very quickly on a cruise vessel, because of the close proximity of hundreds of people to each other.

Research into the development of a vaccine for norovirus has been progressing well, and a new study finds that people who receive the vaccine are less susceptible to infections.

The results of the study have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study involved 77 men and women aged between 18 and 50. 38 subjects were given the vaccine, while 39 were given an inactive placebo. Among the persons who were given the vaccine, 37% developed the illness, while among those who were not given the vaccine, the infection rate was about 69%.

Further, those who were given the vaccine had a less severe version of the illness. However, the bad news is that we are years away from any marketable version of the vaccine.

This year alone, norovirus poisoning has swept through cruise ships that were docked in Tampa, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. Symptoms of norovirus poisoning include acute stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.

When crewmembers who have contracted the infection fail to wash their hands properly, there are high risks of food and water on the cruise vessel being contaminated, spreading the infection. Further, infections spread much better when contaminated surfaces have not been properly cleaned.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent passengers who have been injured in accidents on a cruise ship.

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