Gastroenteritis spreads amongst 130 passengers on luxury cruise ship
It has been confirmed that a sickness and diarrhoea bug has been transmitted to dozens of passengers during a 12-night luxury cruise. An estimated 130 people on board The Black Watch – a Fred Olsen cruise ship - have contracted gastroenteritis; an inflammatory condition of the stomach and bowel (large intestine) that is usually caused by infection. The ship had departed on 8 September with 778 guests on board, sailing from Fife to Scandinavia, and then to the Russian city of St Petersburg. After the ship returned to Rosyth on Friday, 29 people were said to be still unwell with gastroenteritis. Specialist cleaners and health inspectors have now been drafted in to clean and fumigate the ship. A Fred Olsen spokeswoman said: “Fred Olsen Cruise Lines can confirm, during Black Watch's 12-night Scandinavia and St Petersburg cruise, there was an outbreak of a gastroenteritis-type illness, and every effort was made to contain the illness, in accordance with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines onboard medical protocols. Black Watch returned to Rosyth on Friday, where she is currently undergoing an intensive cleaning and sanitisation programme, which includes a complete ship fumigation by professional external contractors. Representatives from the local health authorities and Rosyth Port Health have been on board the ship this morning, and have confirmed that they are satisfied with the containment and preventative measures being undertaken by the ship It is frustrating that, even with the extra preventative and containment measures that were put in place, a number of guests on board suffered from this illness, which is common in hospitals, schools, hotels, cruise ships and other areas where people are in close proximity.” In the UK around one in five people catch an infection causing gastroenteritis each year, with the most common causes in adults being the norovirus and from food poisoning. The infection is highly contagious through virus, bacteria or parasites and can be picked up through poor hygiene, and then transmitted to others if the person affected does not wash their hands after going to the toilet and then touches objects, contaminating them. The time between catching an infection and an onset of the symptoms can vary according to what type of infection you have. It may be anything from one hour to a few weeks, but normally it is between one and three days. The common symptoms are: . Nausea. . Repeated episodes of diarrhoea (3 or more times in 24 hours). Loose, watery stools may contain blood and mucus. . Fever – With a temperature of 38–39C (100.4–102.2F). . Headaches. Dehydration is a major problem associated with gastroenteritis because your body is losing so much water through vomiting and diarrhoea. It is recommended to drink at the very minimum 2 litres (3.5 pints) of water each day, plus 200ml (a third of a pint) of water each time you pass diarrhoea. In addition, antidiarrhoeal medications are used to ease symptoms of diarrhoea. Loperamide hydrochloride – contained in the popular Imodium Plus caplets - is a commonly used antidiarrhoeal medication to treat gastroenteritis. Loperamide hydrochloride helps to reduce diarrhoea by slowing down an overactive bowel. This helps your digestive system get back to normal, leading to firmer stools. By restoring this delicate balance, you can feel better sooner and have the confidence to get on with your day.