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Date: 27/01/2013

Vomiting bug strikes hundreds on cruise ship

We are always hearing stories of vomiting bugs striking cruise ships. With so many people in one enclosed area, any kind of infectious bug will travel quickly, spreading from person to person.

Cruise ships are a prime location for vomiting bugs to strike. In 2012, P & O Cruises reported an outbreak of Norovirus on one of their cruise ships. The ship, Oriana, was transporting hundreds of passengers around the Christmas markets of Europe on a luxury 10 day cruise. Of the 1,843 passengers aboard the ship, it was initially claimed that around 340 people had been taken ill. Later, P & O Cruises stated that it was a case of 'mild gastrointestinal illness', with only 6 people affected.

Passengers were quarantined to their cabins, as is usual in these situations, with free room service being provided. Whilst P & O Cruises offered free medical help to all those affected by the outbreak, it's still vital to have adequate travel insurance to cover you in the case of requiring medical attention on holiday.

Back in 2009, hundreds of passengers were struck down by an outbreak of winter vomiting bug, on The Marco Polo cruise ship, which docked at the harbour in Invergordon so passengers could be treated by local medical teams.

Transocean Tours, who ran the cruise, claimed that up to 200 passengers had contracted the bug, with 5 people being taken to hospital for further assessment and treatment.

It's likely that passengers travelling on these ships bring the bug or virus aboard with them. Passing through airports, sitting on board stuffy planes and spending the night in a hotel are all breeding grounds for nasty germs. These types of bugs can take a few days to incubate before symptoms strike.

As well as having the correct travel insurance to cover you in case of a vomiting bug outbreak, you should also try to wash your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap, as often as you can. If water and soap are unavailable, carry a hand sanitizer. Carrying disinfectant wipes can also come in handy. If you sense symptoms of illness, stay in your cabin and send a friend or partner to seek medical attention. Most cruise ships will offer complimentary room service and in the event of an outbreak, many will provide free medical help.