The Ruby Princess, a cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises, recently encountered an outbreak of illness on its voyage from February 26 to March 5, 2023. Of the 2,881 passengers onboard, 284 reported symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, while 34 of the 1,159 crew members also fell ill, resulting in an overall incidence rate of 9.9% and 2.9%, respectively. The causative agent of the illness remains unknown.
As a response to the outbreak, Princess Cruises and the crew aboard the Ruby Princess immediately implemented their outbreak prevention and response plan, which included increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures to reduce the risk of further transmission. Additionally, stool specimens were collected from the affected individuals and sent to the CDC lab for pathogenic identification.
The ship’s crew also distributed notifications and made ship announcements to embarking guests, informing them of the increased number of illness cases onboard the previous voyage. These measures aimed to raise awareness and prevent the spread of illness.
To further investigate the outbreak, VSP epidemiologists and environmental health officers conducted a field response in Galveston, Texas, on March 5. The goal of the response was to identify the cause of the outbreak and determine whether any additional measures were necessary to contain it.
It’s important to note that the reported cases of gastrointestinal illness are totals for the entire voyage and do not represent the number of active (symptomatic) gastrointestinal cases at any given port of call or at disembarkation. Passengers and crew members who feel unwell are urged to seek medical attention promptly to prevent the further spread of illness.
Princess Cruises takes the health and well-being of its guests and crew seriously and continues to work closely with health officials to investigate the outbreak and ensure that all necessary measures are taken to prevent future occurrences.
WRITTEN BY: ANNE KEAM