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Radio Shows | The Cruise Ship Virus |

After two years of saving, the moment has finally come. You and your husband are finally boarding the cruise ship and starting the vacation of your dreams. What can happen is that a day or two after leaving your home port, one of you is in the bathroom far too often. A day after that, both of you are competing for bathroom time. Then the doctor on board diagnoses you both with gastroenteritis. The cruise ship virus has struck once again. You know it by its common name, the stomach flu, an inflammation of the stomach, the small and large intestines. Many different viruses can cause gastroenteritis including those called Noroviruses. In fact Noroviruses make 23 million Americans sick with stomach flu every year. Cruise ships simply show how quickly and easily these viruses can spread. They can strike in restaurants, dormitories, schools, hospitals and hotels. The viruses can spread through a handshake, contaminated food or water, even breathing tiny airborne particles can spread the virus through the air. The main symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting but you can also have headache, fever, and abdominal cramps. The good news is, people who get viral gastroenteritis almost always recover without any long-term problems. But the industry has done much since the 1970s to protect its passengers. That's when several outbreaks happened and the Centers for Disease Control created a program for sterilization, safe food preparation and clean water. Wash your hands regularly then sit back and enjoy the midnight buffet and take in the view.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the 13 major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is the principal agency in the United States government for protecting the health and safety of all Americans and for providing essential human services, especially for those people who are least able to help themselves. They provide information about infectious diseases that threaten all Americans. Information about the cruise ship virus can be found here. The results of a large scale study can be here. The CDC established the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) and also publishes current VSP inspection report, known as the "Green Sheet," for a large number of cruise ships on the Vessel Sanitation Inspection Web page located here. A ship's sanitation inspection history can also be found by searching the CDC's Summary of Most Recent Inspections database located here. For information about more than 3,000 travel related services from around the world, additional Green Sheet reports are also available. Despite the increase in cruise ship and cruise ship travelers, the incidences of cruise ship virus outbreaks has declined. The Vessel Sanitation Program is just one of the many services of the CDC's Travelers' Health division.

Water Quality and Health Council
The Water Quality and Health Council is an independent, multidisciplinary group sponsored by the Chlorine Chemistry Council®. It's mission is to promote science based practices and policies to enhance water quality and health by advising industry, health professionals, policy makers and the public. Click here for more information about the Water Quality and Health Council. They provide additional information about waterborne diseases. For more information...

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health. Among the resources offered by the FDA is information about the cruise ship virus. For more information...


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