A Disney cruise stomach flu outbreak last week aboard ship Wonder is being investigated by the CDC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 92 passengers and 5 crew members reported falling ill.
The original report states that there are 97 people onboard affected by the outbreak, but the numbers increased to 145 people last Monday, with 131 of which are passengers, Marine Link reports.
Around 2,700 passengers and almost 1,000 crew members are aboard the ship when it disembarked from Miami last Wednesday. The ship returned in Miami last Sunday after cruising to Nassau, Key West and Castaway Cay.
The Disney cruise stomach flu outbreak prompted crew members to implement added sanitation measures such as continuous cleaning of handrails, according to a Disney Cruise Line spokesperson. Self-service stations at buffets and ice cream stations also were discontinued to limit passenger contact with food.
All passengers aboard the ship when it left last Sunday to go to another 14-day cruise to the Panama Canal will not be allowed to serve themselves at buffet to limit their contact with food. Instead, crew members will be the one to serve the food, WESH reported.
“Our primary focus was on taking care of our guests and crew. We have a comprehensive plan that outlines protocols for managing this kind of situation and closely follow CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of common stomach-related illnesses,” a Disney spokesperson said.
The ill passengers were confined to their rooms for 24 hours, and cruise activities weren’t affected. The primary symptom was vomiting.
The last reported outbreak of stomach bug on a Disney Ship occurred last 2002, when two Disney Magic cruises that sailed out of Port Canaveral in Florida left more than 100 people onboard sick. Most outbreaks that occurs in cruise ships are caused by nanovirus, a very contagious stomach bug that not only dangerous but also very costly.
Disney said the Wonder has gotten a 99 out of 100 on the past three CDC inspections. Disney Cruise Line’s regular precautions include handing guests hand wipes as they enter dining areas. Sanitizer stations are found throughout the ships.
Disney said it is handling refunds and credits on a case-by-case basis. The CDC has reported nine other outbreaks on different cruise lines this year. Most of the causes were norovirus.
The Daily Telegraph said that the previous time a serious outbreak was reported on a Disney ship was in 2002. Then, hundreds were sickened on two Disney Magic cruises out of Port Canaveral.
“Disney is one of the few cruise lines which do not routinely suffer from gastrointestinal outbreaks,” maritime lawyer Jim Walker said in a statement.