Illness of 77 cruise ship passengers is confirmed
The precise nature and cause have not yet been determined
Federal health officials confirmed yesterday that 77 passengers aboard a recent Norwegian Cruise Line trip got sick with gastrointestinal problems, including two who had to be hospitalized on Kauai.
The 10-day cruise aboard the 1,748-passenger Norwegian Wind, which makes stops at four major Hawaiian islands and Fanning Island, was completed on Dec. 9. Another cruise is scheduled to begin tomorrow.
Lisa Beaumier, public health analyst with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the outbreak was being analyzed by their investigators but that it was relatively minor. Most of those who got sick reported vomiting and diarrhea, she added.
"It could happen on a ship. It could happen in a nursing home," Beaumier said. "People could become ill anywhere."
State officials said that cruise ship sanitation experts traveled to the ship to investigate the outbreak. The exact nature of the illness and its cause have not yet been discovered.
According to the CDC Web site, Norwegian Wind has only had one previous outbreak of this kind, in 2004, and that was caused by norovirus, a common affliction of cruise ship passengers.
The ship passed its previous two CDC inspections with very high marks, according to the CDC Web site. The most recent inspection in August uncovered only one problem: The single-packet sugars and sweeteners were stored under a stairwell.