CDC Reports Gastrointestinal Illness on Holland America Cruise

A gastrointestinal illness was reported to have broken out on the Holland America Line's (HAL) vessel ms Amsterdam, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC aids the cruise line industry to prevent and control the introduction, transmission and spread of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships through its Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP).

There were a total of 791 passengers on board the Amsterdam traveling from Sydney, Australia to San Diego, California, scheduled to arrive on December 5, 2012. Some 85 passengers and six crew members took ill while on the 25 day cruise. Passengers were encouraged to wash their hands more often to keep from spreading the illness and employees ramped up cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

Upon arrival in San Diego, CDC personnel boarded the vessel to assess the situation and determine what caused the outbreak. This outbreak follows another recent similar situation on another cruise ship last month. That vessel was the ms Voyager of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

The CDC requires participating cruise ships in the VSP program to report the number of gastrointestinal illness situations that required medical attention. The CDC personnel also regularly perform health inspections of cruise ships.

In August, the Holland America Line cruise ship ms Veendam failed its health inspection. It received a grade of 77. Any grade 85 or lower is a failing grade on the inspection scale of 100. There were considerable sanitation violations, such as an unknown brown liquid that was found dripping on clean dishes, a fly on a buffet, malfunctioning refrigerators, faulty dishwashers, broken ice machines and water leaking on the deck in the pool area.

The CDC reported that it was rare that a ship would fail a health inspection and that few had done so over the last several years. They said that only five cruise ships have failed an unannounced inspection in the last five years. Holland representatives called the violation an "aberration."

Passengers spending their hard earned money to travel on cruise ships should not have to worry about health issues while onboard. Unsanitary conditions, storage of food in malfunctioning refrigerators or any other negligence of the cruise ship owner or crew members is unacceptable. If you, a family member or a friend, have gotten sick on a cruise due to some gastrointestinal illness that has broken out while at sea, you need to act immediately to seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling cruise ship claims.

Passengers who have suffered some personal injury or illness onboard a Holland America cruise ship must provide a detailed written notice of claim to the ship owner within six months from the date of the injury or illness. Secondly, you also only have one year from the date of accident, injury or illness to file suit. Finally, regardless of where you reside, your suit must be filed with the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle.

John Merriam and Gordon Webb are Seattle maritime attorneys who have nearly 50 years of combined experience handling nothing but maritime and admiralty law cases. We can make sure that an independent investigation is conducted to preserve important evidence that might be disposed of or covered up by cruise line personnel.

Contact us through our website or call us direct at 877.800.1007 toll free to discuss your case. We handle cases on a contingency basis, so you will never owe us anything unless we get you a recovery.

Other Resources:

CDC Investigation Update

Cruise ship fails CDC health inspection, CNN Travel, Article by Todd Sperry, September 27, 2012

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