Feb 202005
Authors: Holly Bianco

Spring Break vacations are a time to relax and soak up the sun on the beach or on a cruise.

However, for those students planning to take a sea voyage over Spring Break, precautions should be taken because of a recent outbreak of viruses on cruise ships over the last three years.

The virus is called the Norovirus and it is a gastrointestinal virus usually resulting in some kind of stomach flu that is not related to influenza.

"The symptoms are primarily vomiting, diarrhea, low-grade fever, headaches and muscle aches," said Alicia Cronquist, coordinator for food-borne and enteric disease at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The virus has been found on the Princess, Amsterdam, Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise lines.

"It's always been a problem in any inclusive area," Cronquist said, "It's very contagious and spreads easily from one person to the other."

The virus can be transported from one host to another by direct contact with the infected person or through something he or she has touched, Cronquist said.

Students and families of any age are all equally susceptible to the viral infection.

"One thing about Norovirus is anybody can get sick with it," Cronquist said.

Unfortunately for those who get infected while on their cruise vacation, there is no specific treatment for the Norovirus. However, the symptoms only tend to last for two to three days.

"The best way to get over it is to drink a lot of water and don't associate with others because of its highly contagious manner," Cronquist said.

Student Spring Break travelers should know certain tricks to avoid this illness.

"The single best method to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands," Cronquist said.

Many cruise lines have had to completely sanitize their ships because so many people became sick on board.

"I wouldn't feel worried about going on a cruise myself," said Bryan Birmingham, a travel adviser at STA Travel in the Lory Student Center.

Cronquist said cruise ships always monitor illnesses very closely on board, but it is hard when there are so many people confined in such a small space.

"I feel like it's a professional enough industry that one scare wouldn't frighten me away from it," Bermingham said.

Some students also believe that the virus scare is not going to stop them from enjoying a week in the sun.

"I've been on two (cruises) and no one got sick so I would still consider going on a cruise," said Sydney Fox, a freshmen English and German major.

Bermingham recommends that student travelers taking any kind of vacation should always purchase travel insurance in case of unfortunate mishaps, such as the Norovirus.

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