Upward trend: Norovirus cases are up on cruises. What travelers should know

Norovirus cases are up on cruises, but that doesn’t necessarily mean travelers should panic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has logged 13 outbreaks on cruise ships that met its threshold for public notification so far this year, more than any year between 2017 and 2019. The most recent outbreak occurred on a Viking sailing on its Viking Neptune ship in June.

During the voyage, 110 of the the ship’s 838 guests reported being ill – more than 13% of all passengers on board –as well as 9 out of 455 crew members, according to the CDC’s website. Their main symptoms were abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. The public health agency said the causative agent was norovirus, as was the case in all other 2023 outbreaks. But while norovirus is often associated with cruise ships, Ben Lopman, a professor of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health told USA TODAY in February that those represent a “tiny minority of norovirus outbreaks,” while the vast majority are in health care settings like nursing homes.