(NaturalNews) It seems as though every couple of months we are hearing about yet another cruise ship whose passengers have become stricken with sickness.
Well, it has happened again.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched an investigation into the fourth occurrence of norovirus (stomach flu) aboard a cruise ship. According to reports, the latest outbreak occurred on Holland America's MS Veendam cruise ship in mid-February.
Fourth outbreak this year
The CDC has reported that 114 passengers and 10 crew members said they began suffering symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea during the cruise liner's main voyage between Feb. 4 and Feb. 22. In all, the ship was carrying 1,273 passengers and 575 crew members.
When the ship docked at Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Feb. 22, an environmental health officer with the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program, along with an epidemiologist, boarded the vessel to conduct an environmental health assessment, and to collect stool samples for testing. The ship later departed Ft. Lauderdale for its next Panama Canal cruise.
The cruise line said the ship is 16 years old.
The MS Veendam norovirus outbreak is the fourth one this year, as reported by Fox News:
Last month, the Norwegian Star, Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, and Caribbean Princess all had confirmed norovirus outbreaks during their voyages. The effects of norovirus -- which include nausea, stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting -- typically last between 24 [and] 72 hours.
As for the ship itself, it is not the first time it has experienced an outbreak. In fact, reports said, the ship has had seven separate cases of illness outbreaks since the CDC began reporting on such incidents.
Norovirus responsible for two-thirds of outbreaks aboard cruise liners in past 20 years
In September, the MS Veendam got a failing grade from the CDC after inspectors found multiple sanitation violations aboard. One incident involved some sort of brown liquid dripping all over clean dishes.
The CDC uses a 100-point scale to grade vessels: An 85 or lower is considered failing. The Veendam got a 77, the New York Daily News reported.
According to Skift.com, a news and information site, norovirus caused two-thirds of the outbreaks aboard cruise ships over the past 20 years:
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastrointestinal illness outbreaks on cruise ships. According to CDC data, norovirus caused 67 percent of the 292 reported cruise ship outbreaks in the past 20 years. In reality, the number is likely even higher since the cause of 22 percent of outbreaks is unknown or wasn't tested.
Norovirus is a "very hearty virus," according to the CDC. It can be contracted via an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.