We get thousands of cruise ship passengers visiting us weekly. In fact, on busy days we can see our country’s population nearly double due to the influx of cruise ship passengers. This article caught my eye and besides the obvious (this PhD candidate seriously built a “vomit machine” for her thesis? That’s awesome!), was the fact that norovirus can spread like wildfire, especially on a cruise ship. Here’s more evidence to explain why. Although a small fraction of cases occur on cruise ships, norovirus continually makes headlines, recently on 2 different cruise ships.
Even though a tiny percentage of particles are aerosolized when someone vomits (0.2%), only 18 viral particles are needed to spread infection. Further, individuals infected with norovirus can transmit the disease for two weeks following their recovery. Thoroughly cleaning contaminated surfaces and practicing good hand hygenie are important to stopping the infection cycle.
The best defense is the simple measures, cover your cough and wash your hands. And if you’re on a cruise ship and you come down with a case of norovirus, maybe stay on deck and vomit over the rail.
For more info: http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/preventing-infection.html