Virgin Voyages cruise passengers fall ill with ‘stomach flu symptoms’

More than 60 passengers recently fell ill on Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady cruise ship with “stomach flu symptoms”.

Crew members also reported symptoms with seven affected by the outbreak. The voyage took place between October 8 and October 13.

A Virgin Voyages spokesperson told “During Scarlet Lady’s voyage that ended last Friday, about three percent of our guests experienced stomach flu symptoms.

“Our medical team isolated these travellers, and we immediately enhanced sanitisation procedures including additional cleaning of cabins and high-contact areas around the ship.

“We worked closely with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and their medical professionals and there was no impact to the voyage departing on Friday, October 13.”

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The main symptoms reported were abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea but the cause is as yet unknown.

In response to the incident, staff increased cleaning and disinfection procedures, collected stool specimens and isolated sick passengers and crew.

Bugs can spread quickly on cruise ships and there have been several outbreaks on vessels this year.

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There have been 13 outbreaks of norovirus reported on cruise ships so far this year, according to CDC data.

In 2022, just two outbreaks of norovirus were recorded by the CDC while eight were recorded in 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

During the pandemic, some critics claimed cruise ships were ‘floating petri dishes’ due to the potential for sickness to spread onboard.

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CDC’s tips for healthy cruising

  • If you’re sick, report your illness
  • Wash your hands often especially after using the toilet and before eating or smoking
  • Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of water
  • Leave the area if you see someone get sick

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