Noroviruses not just on cruise ships

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December 14, 2006

The Centers for Disease Control says they traditionally see more stomach viruses during the winter months.

Recently, the hundreds of people on cruise ships getting the norovirus, or 24-hour bug, have made news.

But that type of seasickness is closer than you think.

"It's just a 24 hour stomach bug that we've had as long as I can remember," says Dinah Frank of Travel Connection.

When you hear norovirus you think cruise ship...but health experts say the majority of it is found on land.

"The CDC projected that 28 million people will contract this virus this year, and 4,000 of these people will be on cruise ships," Frank said.

Although found on land in daycares, churches, schools, and everywhere, it is made public when it hits cruise ships, like the recent norovirus that swept through the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship. 300 people got sick.

The CDC requires cruise lines to report it, and that's why you are hearing of it happening on cruise ships more often than anywhere else.

"The cruise ships get a lot of scrutiny from our program from the CDC and must report all illnesses from every cruise, and that same type of reporting does not really exist on land," said David Farney of the CDC.

The advice travel agents are giving their clients is the same advice we should follow at home.

"Just use your general hygiene that you would use in church or school, just use common sense," Frank said.

"We have to remember that hand washing is still number one, and a hand sanitizer is much more effective if it is used after you wash your hands," Farney said.

If you want to learn more about the norovirus, click here.