Fabulous cruise liners, some now carrying 4,000 people and more regularly visit British ports en route to destinations as diverse as Alaska, Africa and Australia, taking passengers on holidays of a lifetime.
The last thing passengers expect is to become ill during their cruise but from time to time infectious diseases do occur and can spread very quickly from person to person. Illnesses which are not identified and controlled quickly, could infect large numbers of people. Infectious diseases can also be transmitted via water, food and other contaminated materials, and it is the job of port health authorities and local authorities to investigate and ensure that on board infectious disease controls are appropriate and effective. They might also have to deal with media enquiries and the legal profession.
APHA members work with the Health Protection Agency investigating local outbreaks and APHA has recently contributed to national guidelines for safe water supplies and norovirus outbreak controls on board vessels which will assist colleagues in applying controls consistently and effectively.
APHA represents Great Britain at the World Health Organization developing standard operating procedures for the implementation of the new International Health Regulations, revised to address the multiple and varied public health risks that face the world today through re-emerging and new diseases and emergencies caused by biological, chemical and radiological agents.
The HPA has recently published guidance for the management of norovirus on board cruise liners which can be found on their website.
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