From 1990 to 2004, the reported rates of diarrheal disease (three or more loose stools or a greater than normal frequency in a 24-hour period) on cruise ships decreased 2.4%, from 29.2 cases per 100,000 travel days to 28.5 cases (1,2). Increased rates of acute gastroenteritis illness (diarrhea or vomiting that is associated with loose stools, bloody stools, abdominal cramps, headache, muscle aches, or fever) occurred in years that novel strains of norovirus, the most common etiologic agent in cruise ship outbreaks, emerged (3). To determine recent rates of acute gastroenteritis on cruise ships, CDC analyzed combined data for the period 2008–2014 that were submitted by cruise ships sailing in U.S. jurisdiction (defined as passenger vessels carrying ≥13 passengers and within 15 days of arriving in the United States) (4).
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