Resort torts could follow from the more than 450 passengers and 40 crew members aboard the Ruby Princess and Crown Princess cruise ships who came down with norovirus this week, a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus. Fort Lauderdale is the homeport for both ships.
A rash of the virus also broke out this week on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas. The severity of the illness and symptoms experienced in these outbreaks has not been revealed but hours of sanitizing the ships were expected to delay the embarkation of passengers for the cruises scheduled to follow.
According to the CDC, “norovirus illness can be serious in young children, the elderly, and people with other health conditions; it can lead to severe dehydration, hospitalization and even death.”
The virus is found in the vomit and stool of infected people and transmitted by consuming contaminated food or liquids, touching contaminated surfaces, or having direct contact with an infected person.
There is no vaccine to prevent infection nor a drug to treat those infected with it. The CDC cites cruise ships as one of the crowded, closed places where norovirus can quickly spread. Contagion can last three days or more after a person is recovered from the illness.