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What you need to know as travellers on cruise ships and cruises(Part 2)

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Check your vaccination status with your travel consultant depending on the regions you are visiting.

In cruises outside Europe and North America, Hepatitis A vaccination is usually necessary for the non-immune because hepatitis A is so easily spread(most Nigerians will not need this).

Food on cruise ships is usually safe because great care is to prevent outbreak of food poisoning, but contaminated food may be taken on board during stopovers.  If you eat when you go onshore at a stopover, take care to avoid risky foodstuff and contaminated water.  Remember that stopovers may have more risk than being on board and insect bites with the accompanying diseases (like malaria) and infections can be picked up.   Because a large number of people are together in close proximity, influenza outbreaks can occur.

The elderly and those with medical conditions that can be made worse with an influenza infection should be vaccinated.  They should also receive pneumococcal vaccines if not previously given.  A very popular outbreak of disease amongst passengers is the ‘epidemic vomiting disease’ often due to the Norovirus.  It is spread via the respiratory route and through fomites and is very difficult to control.

Large number of passengers may be infected but the illness is usually mild and self-limiting.  Practise good personal hygiene to reduce the spread of the virus and other faecal-oral diseases.

More than 100 disease outbreaks have been identified in the past 30 years.  This is probably an understatement because many outbreaks are not reported or detected.  Outbreaks of measles, rubella, varicella, meningococcal meningitis, hepatitis A, legionellosis and other respiratory and gastrointestinal illness amongst ship passengers have been reported.  A valid yellow fever certificate of vaccination may be needed for cruises to the Caribbean, South and Central America and sub-Saharan Africa or you might not be allowed into the ship if you do not have one.

Consult your doctor on possible malaria risk and take necessary precautions if the need arises.  It is not necessary for most cruises.  Sexually transmitted diseases from casual sexual relationships among passengers and among passengers and crew are reportedly quite common.  It is better to abstain, and if you must have sex, practice safe sex to prevent HIV infection, Hepatitis B, Herpes.

Have a fun Cruise. Don’t forget you’re fully charged roaming mobile phones.  Whatever you do, don’t fall overboard into the ocean (Laugh).  The next topic will be the traveller with Asthma.

Visit a reference site below, Here

CDCs – Precautions for cruise ship travellers

Pretravel

Evaluate the type and length of the planned cruise in the context of personal health requirements, Consult medical and dental providers before cruise travel.

Notify cruise line of special needs (such as wheelchair access, dialysis, oxygen tank),   Consider additional insurance for overseas health care and medical evacuation.

Carry prescription medications in their original containers, with a copy of the prescription and accompanying physician’s letter.

Bring insect repellent and sunscreen and consider treating clothes and gear with permethrin and Defer travel while acutely ill.

Consult  wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices for travel health notices and check  www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/gilist.htm for gastrointestinal outbreaks.

During Travel

Wash hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains ≥60% alcohol.

Follow safe food and water precautions when eating off the ship at ports of call.

Use measures to prevent insect bites during port visits, especially in malaria- or dengue-endemic areas or areas where outbreaks of vectorborne diseases, such as chikungunya and Zika, are occurring.

Use sun protection, maintain good fluid intake, but avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

Avoid contact with ill people. If sexually active, practice safe sex and report illness to ship’s infirmary and follow medical recommendations.

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