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A Look at Cruise Ship Illnesses

Cruise ships bring together a large number of people from many different areas and backgrounds.  Communicable illnesses are always a threat to passengers and crew members.  The crowded, somewhat enclosed nature of the cruise ship can result in the easy transmission of infectious diseases through the air, water, food, and common area surfaces.  Crew members who remain on board from previous cruises can also serve as transmitters of diseases.  Our Miami cruise ship injury lawyers offer the following look at illnesses commonly experienced by cruise line passengers and crew members, along with some tips on preventing these unpleasant and sometimes dangerous diseases.

GI Illnesses

            Gastrointestinal related illnesses are perhaps the most common form of illness experienced by cruise ship passengers and crew members.  Most GI related illnesses stem from the virulent bug norovirus.  This virus is easily transmitted from person and person and those who have experienced the bug in the past will not have immunity to it when re-exposed.  Several major cruise lines have been plagued with norovirus outbreaks in recent years, at times to the extent that the cruise must return to port earlier than expected.  The best defense against this illness is consistent hand washing, especially before eating and after using the restroom.  Ask your cruise line about their sanitation protocol, which can make a big difference in the number of people that will contract the virus in the event of an outbreak.

Respiratory Illnesses

            There are several major respiratory illnesses that commonly sicken cruise ship passengers.  The first is influenza, known as the flu.  Flu seasons are typically at opposite times of the year in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, making it possible for cruise ship occupants to catch the flu year round.  The flu will usually pass without complication, for a few cruise ship passengers or cruise members the flu can turn deadly.

Legionnaires’ disease is another respiratory illness that can be contracted on cruise ships.  This disease is caused by inhalation of water containing the Legionella organism.  The illness commonly results in pneumonia and other serious respiratory problems.  This respiratory illness can be prevented through increased sanitation of pool and spas.

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

            Some crew members and passengers may come from countries with low immunization rates, placing others at risk of contracted vaccine preventable diseases like measles, chicken pox, and rubella.  Older passengers are most at risk as they may lack immunity to the diseases that are generally only vaccinated against in childhood.  Anyone considering taking a cruise should consult with their doctor to determine whether they may benefit from additional booster vaccines and crew members should be required to show proof of immunity when hired by the cruise line.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Assisting Injured or Ill Cruise Ship Passengers and Employees

If you or a loved one is injured or takes ill on a cruise, the Miami Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are here to help.  We have over 130 collective years of experience representing cruise accident and illness victims, including injured crew members, in South Florida.  We will assess your accident and determine your best avenue for recovery from the cruise line responsible for your injuries or illness.  We have the experience and knowledge to provide you with top notch legal representation.  Our firm has received a coveted AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and the Miami Herald recognized us as a top firm in South Florida.   Allow our exceptional attorneys to provide you with superior legal services in the South Florida area.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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