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How to avoid getting norovirus on your cruise

07 Feb 2012

Recently another Royal Caribbean ship was affected by a norovirus outbreak, where many passengers became very sick.  Over the years we've heard reports of outbreaks on other ships but there are definite precautions you can take to avoid getting sick yourself.

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a virus that causes acute gastroenteritis.  This means people will have symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

Noroviruses spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus is recognized as the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Outbreaks can happen to people of all ages and in a variety of settings.

How to prevent contracting norovirus

Norovirus is commonly contracted by

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus (someone gets stool or vomit on their hands, then touches food or drink).
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth.
  • Having direct contact with a person who is infected with norovirus (for example, when caring for someone with norovirus or sharing foods or eating utensils with them).

Generally speaking, people with norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least 3 days after they recover.

You can prevent getting sick by

  • Washing your hands, especially after using the restrooms and before eating or preparing food. 
  • Avoid shaking hands during outbreaks.
  • Do not prepare food for others if you become sick for up to 3 days after becoming sick.
  • Wash laundry that may be contaminated with vomit or stool.

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