Holland West Coast (including Noordam) plagued with Norovirus

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#41
FL
436 Posts
Joined Nov 2013
Originally posted by chengkp75
The CDC site on Noro states that is results in 19-21 million cases a year. That equates to 6% of the US population, sound familiar to your number above?
For a comparison like that I think you need to adjust for time. The rate of illness for cruise passengers should be much lower than the general population which has 365 days to contract the virus.
#42
Cairns & Chicago
14 Posts
Joined Aug 2014
Originally posted by IRL_Joanie
So, you came down with Noro on this cruise. Because of cost you refused to be diagnosed by a trained Medical Officer, who could give you meds and whatever else it takes to cure it..


You also propagated the Noro by continuing to hang out in public places around the ship, instead of quarantining yourself and other cabin mates (if any) and therefore spreading it even more.....


I do not think the Medical Officer is in the wrong, ethically or otherwise to answer to a passenger the medical information you asked for. Now if you are CDC, Captain or other responsible person that is in the Need to Know bracket......................


Hubby was on the Noordam a few weeks ago and heard nothing of Noro on her.


Keep in mind that depending on how long you were on the ship BEFORE you started showing/experiencing symptoms, you yourself could have brought it on board with you.
A lot of "alternative facts" there, Joanie.

I began to have symptoms just after midnight on Day 5 (Glacier Bay) - so clearly I didn't have it when I boarded nor did I "bring it onboard".

The "trained medical officer" proffered to me was a nurse who's command of English was not reassuring. And *I* know as I suspect you do, that there is no "treatment" for Norwalk virus. There is no "curing" it.

I did NOT "hang out" in public spaces, I was incapacitated in my cabin and missed completely all of Glacier Bay. Medical put me on the cabin detention list and treated me as quarantined until the morning of Day 6.

After yammering at the staff about the secrecy, the Captain claimed at dinner on Day 6 that "about 60 passengers" had been reported. He also intimated that children who did NOT get reported were not in this count. He also suggested that these children were visited by family and others while contaminated. All very plausible, and as another poster has observed, a situation compounded by the chaotic Lido Deck food trough.

"Need to Know"? It's a public conveyance and they have a duty to report. And as I noted, Holland apparently decided to deceive passengers checking-in for this Norocruise in Vancouver. Not nice.
#43
Alabama
970 Posts
Joined Apr 2016
Originally posted by ChicagoDude
A lot of "alternative facts" there, Joanie.

I began to have symptoms just after midnight on Day 5 (Glacier Bay) - so clearly I didn't have it when I boarded nor did I "bring it onboard".

The "trained medical officer" proffered to me was a nurse who's command of English was not reassuring. And *I* know as I suspect you do, that there is no "treatment" for Norwalk virus. There is no "curing" it.

I did NOT "hang out" in public spaces, I was incapacitated in my cabin and missed completely all of Glacier Bay. Medical put me on the cabin detention list and treated me as quarantined until the morning of Day 6.

After yammering at the staff about the secrecy, the Captain claimed at dinner on Day 6 that "about 60 passengers" had been reported. He also intimated that children who did NOT get reported were not in this count. He also suggested that these children were visited by family and others while contaminated. All very plausible, and as another poster has observed, a situation compounded by the chaotic Lido Deck food trough.

"Need to Know"? It's a public conveyance and they have a duty to report. And as I noted, Holland apparently decided to deceive passengers checking-in for this Norocruise in Vancouver. Not nice.
Interesting. You started feeling symptoms early on day 5 and were quarantined in your room until the next morning, day 6. Everything I've read says if you actualy have the Norwalk virus you are contagious for at least 3 days AFTER you recover. I'm surprised and somewhat concerned the ship doctor let you as well as probably others out the day after you started having symptoms. Sure hope that doctor isn't on a HAL cruise we're on.
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#45
City of Angels, CA
28,430 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by Ken the cruiser
Interesting. You started feeling symptoms early on day 5 and were quarantined in your room until the next morning, day 6. Everything I've read says if you actualy have the Norwalk virus you are contagious for at least 3 days AFTER you recover. I'm surprised and somewhat concerned the ship doctor let you as well as probably others out the day after you started having symptoms. Sure hope that doctor isn't on a HAL cruise we're on.
The initial quarantine period is for 24 hours starting with the day/time of the onset of his/her symptoms
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#46
Alabama
970 Posts
Joined Apr 2016
Originally posted by Copper10-8
The initial quarantine period is for 24 hours starting with the day/time of the onset of his/her symptoms
Is that a HAL policy or a CDC policy as it was a 4 day period when Code Red was declared on the Oceania cruise we were on?
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#47
1,822 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by Ken the cruiser
Interesting. You started feeling symptoms early on day 5 and were quarantined in your room until the next morning, day 6. Everything I've read says if you actualy have the Norwalk virus you are contagious for at least 3 days AFTER you recover. I'm surprised and somewhat concerned the ship doctor let you as well as probably others out the day after you started having symptoms. Sure hope that doctor isn't on a HAL cruise we're on.
The CDC references that it is usually 24 - 72 hours after recovery that a person is shedding the virus at high levels. The problem with determining whether a person is contagious is that the virus can often be detected up to 4 weeks following infection.

For cruise ships, the CDC recommends, "...passengers with gastroenteritis on cruise ships may be asked to remain isolated voluntarily in their cabins during their illness and for a period of 24--48 hours after their symptoms have resolved."
#48
Alabama
970 Posts
Joined Apr 2016
Originally posted by cbr663
The CDC references that it is usually 24 - 72 hours after recovery that a person is shedding the virus at high levels. The problem with determining whether a person is contagious is that the virus can often be detected up to 4 weeks following infection.

For cruise ships, the CDC recommends, "...passengers with gastroenteritis on cruise ships may be asked to remain isolated voluntarily in their cabins during their illness and for a period of 24--48 hours after their symptoms have resolved."
The key phrase is "after their symptoms have resolved" rather than when they are diagnosed. But, hey, I'm not a doctor and I'm sure the ship doctors know what they are doing. It just seemed a little odd given my experience on the Riviera when the code red was issued. Maybe rules are different prior to a code red being officially called.

But I have to say, I'm starting to give more credit to Oceania for how they handled the outbreak in that while you were confined to your cabin for that 4 day period, they took your key card away. That way if you snuck out and wanted to go up to the Lido deck or the MDR to get something to eat, other than what they would deliver to your cabin, you couldn't because they were checking to make sure you had a key card AND you sanitized your hands before entering.

I know it was the pits if someone caught it, but it gave the passengers not infected some piece of mind during a very stressful time when all the public areas on the ship had pretty much been shut down other than maybe the main theater until all cases had been cleared, which turned out to be the last day of the 14 day cruise.
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2017 Celebrity (Canary Islands/TA) - NCL (Caribbean)
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#49
Cairns & Chicago
14 Posts
Joined Aug 2014
Originally posted by oaktreerb
I was not charged for my medical visit. I don't think anyone should be charged if they need treatment for norovirus. It is important to the health of all passengers that people be honest about norovirus and treatment, if required, should be free.
I agree. The way it was presented to me by the medical staff, they would not even TAKE a report about my illness unless I paid them $95 to see the doctor. It was only after I started yammering at ship management that they relented and took the report.

And in this case I believe HAL had even a higher duty of responsibility, as it was known the previous cruise had serious issues that logical thinking points to their failure to stop the virus on the passenger turnover.
#50
Miami, Florida
139 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
Originally posted by cb at sea
Having had Norovirus (luckily, NOT on a ship or vacation), I can't imagine anyone with it wanting do be more than a few steps from their toilet, or wanting to eat....or even, get out of the bed! It's a miserable illness....wandering a ship while having symptoms is nothing a sane person would do.

And even "clean" people are susceptible....it's highly contagious...and you are contagious BEFORE symptoms appear.
Too many people like to use personal anecdotal stories to explain how the world works. It is not that simple.

A surprisingly high percentage of people contract Norovirus and never know it. Their symptoms are so mild that they think they have a cold or a hangover. But they are still contagious and spreading the virus to everyone else.
Many Asians with type A or B blood can be carriers of the virus without ever experiencing any symptoms at all. They are also spreading the virus to those who are not immune.
#51
Miami, Florida
139 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
Originally posted by sammiedawg
Holland America ships are clean, IMO their standards are good.
We were on Fantasy last year with a one year old and a three year old and noticed exceptional cleanliness, including full time restroom attendants. My daughter still wiped down surfaces as best she could, just like she wipes Target shopping carts and restaurant tables when in her home town.
Hopefully your twins are walking when you cruise but whether they are crawlers or walkers use Clorox wipes to clean surfaces. Wipe down hotel rooms, ship cabins, restaurant tables, planes. Wash their hands and your hands often with soap and water.
Enjoy your vacation, if the babies are healthy you don't need to live in a bubble.
Next time you sail on HAL, take the side cover off your bathtub. You will discover a 15 year growth of black mold hidden there.
I tried for years to get permission to clean those areas, but HAL management was too cheap to do it.
Then speak to an engineer about the air handling system, and try to get him to admit how often they change the filters. The correct answer is "never". Once again, HAL is too cheap to do the right thing.
#52
Miami, Florida
139 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
[quote=sandbag7;53721426]
Originally posted by chengkp75
The CDC site on Noro states that is results in 19-21 million cases a year. That equates to 6% of the US population, sound familiar to your number above? So, if the general population is so affected, why don't we hear about widespread outbreaks all over the US? Because it relies on a fixed population in a closed environment, like a cruise ship ...

So, in 4 cruises, with lets say 9000 total passengers, have you discussed noro virus, or any illness on a ship with 5% of them (450 people)?

You evidence some good points in general but a total misunderstanding of statistical analysis:

1) if CDC reports 19-21 million cases a year, that DOES NOT equate to 6% of the population AT ANY GIVEN TIME, unless the Norovirus typically lasts a year per case (which of course it doesn't) ; assuming for the moment that each case lasts an average of 10 days which is very unlikely, the total number of people suffering from Norovirus AT ANY GIVEN TIME would be 10/365 X 19-21 million, or 500,000 to 600,000, not 19-21 million, get it?

2) If 6% of the population is infected with Noro at any given time I would only need to talk to 15-17 people to have a statistical likelihood of talking to people who has it currently if I spoke to 450 people 27 people on average should have had it personally within the past year; now I have not made a scientific study but on my 20+ total cruises I have met people with upset stomachs that they ascribed to sea sickness but nary a one ship Noro victim; I know they are out there and I suspect the culprit is that more and more people's immune systems are compromised rather than anything particularly wrong about the ship.
3) for the reasons stated above I distrust the 6% Noro estimate at any given moment which would in fact suggest an average of more than 500 million cases of Noro per year. That clearly is not even remotely happening. Even 500,000 - 600,00 a year seems high but not impossible.
Statistics are great, but a bit of practical reality can also be helpful.
How many Americans who contract Norovirus at home actually report it to the CDC?

How many times do you hear a friend say that he has the "stomach flu" and is taking a few days off work? Did he contact the CDC?

How many people think they have influenza or a bad cold for a week or ten days, but really have Norovirus? Do they contact the CDC or a hospital for verification?

The CDC can only guess how many Americans get Norovirus every year. But without reliable numbers, it is only a guess.

Norwalk Virus has been with us for millennia, but was only "discovered" in Norwalk Ohio a few decades ago.
It is so similar to many other viruses that we didn't even know it existed. It is impossible for anyone to know how many cases there are every year.
#53
New Brunswick
41,582 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Ken the cruiser
The key phrase is "after their symptoms have resolved" rather than when they are diagnosed. But, hey, I'm not a doctor and I'm sure the ship doctors know what they are doing. It just seemed a little odd given my experience on the Riviera when the code red was issued. Maybe rules are different prior to a code red being officially called.

But I have to say, I'm starting to give more credit to Oceania for how they handled the outbreak in that while you were confined to your cabin for that 4 day period, they took your key card away. That way if you snuck out and wanted to go up to the Lido deck or the MDR to get something to eat, other than what they would deliver to your cabin, you couldn't because they were checking to make sure you had a key card AND you sanitized your hands before entering.

I know it was the pits if someone caught it, but it gave the passengers not infected some piece of mind during a very stressful time when all the public areas on the ship had pretty much been shut down other than maybe the main theater until all cases had been cleared, which turned out to be the last day of the 14 day cruise.
Ken don't give Oceania too much credit.

I suspect they were ordered by CDC to take very strong measures.

We were on the first cruise when Noro raised it's ugly head. No numbers were ever given and we found out more on the CDC website than we did from the captain.

Quarantine was only 24 hours on that cruise and preventative measures were not good. Only thing closed was the laundry. Everything else remained open, all condiments out to be touched, etc. Cooking classes still happened and people eat what they prepare there.

The outbreak did not get controlled but increased to the level that Bermuda refused us entrance.

I think by the time you cruised it was the 4th outbreak? I know from reading the reports that O was reprimanded for the reporting and management of our Noro cruise. I suspect that they were told to do certain things but that's just my suspicion.

By the way, our next door neighbours were quarantined for 24 hours and there was nothing on their door nor were their keys takn away . She told me after the quarantine period was over and could go back to her cooking classes.
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#54
3,855 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Oceania turned me off when, for muster drill, we were seated in the dining room, with all the cutlery, glassware and plates set for dinner. While waiting for everyone to file in and take a seat - many at our table (possibly at other tables) were toying with the utensils, rubbing their fingers around the rim of goblets, fiddling with and using the napkins.

It was a real turn off - actually i went and booked late seating for specialty restaurant for sailaway night.
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Carol
#55
Miami, Florida
139 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
Where are the best places to contract Norwalk Virus?

Locations where large numbers of people are more or less confined in small spaces for long periods, without much fresh air or sunshine.

Examples: Prisons, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, cruise ships, ...... and Alaska.
People who live in Alaska spend about 9 months of the year inside, waiting for the snow to melt, staying dry and warm, and avoiding mosquitoes, black flies, and cruise passengers.

Norovirus outbreaks on land in Alaska are legendary. Would it be illogical to assume that some of those outbreaks spread to cruise ships visiting Alaska?
#56
1,822 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
We had a similar experience on HAL. This past June we sailed on the K and our muster station was the specialty restaurant Sel de Mer. We were also instructed to sit at tables that were fully set with glasses, plates and cutlery. I didn't wait around to see whether the tables were reset for the evening's service, but I suspect that it wasn't.
#57
Miami, Florida
139 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
CDC rules require cruise ships to UN-set restaurant tables that are unused for more than 6 hours in order to prevent cross-contamination during indoor muster drills.

HAL takes short cuts by setting up the tables just before the muster drill to avoid breaking the rules. But this exposes passengers to unnecessary risks of contaminating the table settings. Doing it properly and safely would require more staff. HAL will not increase staffing for any reason - including your health.
#58
305 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
we have a relative out of state who works with large company that contracts maintenance services that do various larger maintenance when ships are in port......his company serves 3 different ports in US and works with multiple cruise lines......he has provided and supervised these services for close to 17 years......he has mentioned to us several times that cruise lines and individual ships do not change their ac/heat air filters regularly, do not steam carpet until badly stained and as noted in prior post they do not address routine mold issues that are hidden out of view........while all that contributes to a ripe environment of potential sickness we do have to remember that people "transmit" the illness and expose others to whatever is being transmitted whether it is gastro or respiratory related. MY POINT: we have to be proactive as we can and go knowing there are various risks. Take precaution with public space and take related medications that you might need. We have been on less than 10 cruises with 3 different cruise lines and one of us has typically come back with a cold but I know that can originate from ship or airplane or anywhere. Go prepared and enjoy your trip!!
#59
Brooklyn, NY
17,881 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by sammiedawg
Travel 101. Sick passengers need to isolate themselves, most recover in a day or two. They are infectious before symptoms appear which is why the illness spreads.
A number of people have stated that you can spread the virus even before symptoms appear.

This is what the CDC's "Norovirus Illness: Key Facts":

• You are contagious from the moment you begin feeling sick and for the first few days after you recover.

https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/downloads/keyfacts.pdf
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#60
New Jersey
8,993 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by CHPURSER
Next time you sail on HAL, take the side cover off your bathtub. You will discover a 15 year growth of black mold hidden there.
I tried for years to get permission to clean those areas, but HAL management was too cheap to do it.
Then speak to an engineer about the air handling system, and try to get him to admit how often they change the filters. The correct answer is "never". Once again, HAL is too cheap to do the right thing.
On a recent cruise, we saw all the vent covers in our hallway removed and the stewards were vacuuming. Not a full deep clean, perhaps, but that had to get SOME dust out of there. And this was routine, no Noro on that cruise.

I give HAL credit for being proactive. Twice we've been on cruises where there have been a number of people with "GI symptoms." Both times, the Captain made the announcement that measures were being taken to reduce transmission and he updated numbers every day. (No matter what the circumstance, HAL Captains use the phrase "abundance of caution.") Any communal objects like salt and pepper were taken away. Servers were at the drinks station in the Lido. Nothing was self serve. In both cases, it didn't seem like a big outbreak. Not a lot of "do not disturb" signs in evidence, the ship seemed to have as many people around as usual. Certainly nothing like the massive outbreak a friend experienced on a mega ship a few years ago, where the staff did far less to contain it. She said the ship was a ghost town, as people were staying in their cabins, suffering.
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Kathy
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