Nearly 30 passengers sailing on board a luxury cruise ship were struck down by illness during a voyage this month.

Silver Nova, operated by Silversea Cruises, departed Peru on 31 March with 633 passengers and 538 crew members.

During its two-week voyage, 28 of the holidaymakers were unwell after an outbreak of gastrointestinal sickness – around 4.5 per cent of those travelling. It also affected a member of the crew.

The main symptom of the outbreak was diarrhoea, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the “causative agent” was “unknown”.

In response to the series of sick passengers, announcements were made on the vessel to notify those on board of the situation and “encourage good hand hygiene”, while those feeling unwell were isolated. The CDC reports that “increased cleaning and disinfection procedures according to the ship’s outbreak prevention and response plan” were also put in place.

All of the passengers have now disembarked the ship after its itinerary ended as planned on Tuesday 15 April in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A Silversea spokesperson told The Independent: “The health and safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit are our top priority. To maintain an environment that supports the highest levels of health and safety onboard our ships, we implement rigorous cleaning procedures, many of which far exceed public health guidelines.”

Medical staff on cruise ships under US jurisdiction are required to send gastrointestinal illness case reports to the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program in certain situations, such as before arriving at a US port from a foreign port (this is required even when there are no cases of illness on board), or if 3 per cent or more of the passengers or crew have gastrointestinal illness.

The latest outbreak comes after a Cunard ship, Queen Victoria, saw more than 100 passengers suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting due to norovirus.

And earlier in January, almost 100 passengers on a Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Constellation contracted norovirus after it departed Florida.

The health agency recorded 14 incidents of gastrointestinal illness in 2023 that breached its threshold for public notification, and it states that although people “often associate cruise ships with acute gastrointestinal illnesses”, such as norovirus, outbreaks are “relatively infrequent” on the vessels.

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