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Sick of cruising? The most common illnesses on cruise ships

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2018 | Maritime Law

Few incidents can derail a well-planned vacation like getting sick. You might avoid the virus going around in your neighborhood before your embarkment day, only to get terribly ill from a bug that’s being spread among the passengers on your cruise ship. At the Law Offices of Law Offices of Cavin and Marks, Jr. & Associates, we understand that ship-borne illnesses are not only a pain for California vacationers – they can be dangerous for some with compromised immune systems. In some cases, the ship’s staff may be held accountable for their procedures for preventing or treating an outbreak on board.

The close quarters on cruise ships, in addition to food handling and water sources, could contribute to an outbreak. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diarrheal illnesses, respiratory diseases and those that can be prevented by a vaccine are the most common sicknesses to go around on cruise ships. Examples of these include food poisoning, norovirus, chickenpox or the common cold or flu. Contracting influenza on your vacation may be irritating at best, but can spell disaster if you get a bacterial infection from the disease or your immunity is compromised – such as being pregnant, elderly or having an immunodeficiency.

How do cruise companies address the risks? Staff should provide antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer in restrooms and dining areas. Your cruise ship should have a medical clinic on board where you can be stabilized when ill and given first aid or emergency medical care. If necessary, there should be a way to evacuate you for proper medical treatment if you are seriously ill.

Serious outbreaks on cruise ships are relatively rare, but they do happen. As our page on cruise ship injuries explains, you may be eligible for compensation if the cruise company failed in its duties to reasonably contain or treat serious illnesses.