8 Dec 2014

Passengers isolated to halt norovirus

7:32 pm on 8 December 2014

Isolating sick passengers and disinfecting door handles are among the measures cruise ship operators are taking to stop the spread of contagious stomach bugs.

The Dawn Princess

The Dawn Princess Photo: AFP

The Dawn Princess, which was on a 13-day voyage around New Zealand, reported a norovirus outbreak to public health authorities in Canterbury.

The ship's owners, Carnival Australia, said while some passengers had reported norovirus symptoms most had been unaffected.

It said the containment response had been effective, with the number of reported cases dropping significantly.

The company said some of the proactive measures it had had taken included keeping sick passengers in their cabins and disinfecting handrails, door handles and elevator buttons, as-well-as closing all food self-service.

Canterbury medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey said the worst was over for passengers aboard the ship and the outbreak had been contained reasonably well.

Dr Humphrey said while the outbreak was waning, more than 10 percent of passengers had been infected.

"Those kind of numbers would be of some concern to anybody with a facility that had so many people living in such close proximity," he said.

The Dawn Princess left New Zealand today for Melbourne.

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