In late May 2009, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service called the Communicable Disease Branch at NSW Health to report an outbreak of respiratory illness on a cruise ship. The ship was returning to Sydney after a 10-day cruise in the Pacific Ocean. NSW Health arranged rapid testing on a sample of ill passengers which detected both pandemic (H1N1) influenza virus and seasonal (H3N2) influenza viruses in different passengers. Investigators reviewed the cruise ship’s medical records and interviewed passengers find anyone on the cruise who had developed influenza like illness, and arranged testing of their respiratory samples to confirm the diagnosis.

Of 1970 passengers and 734 crew members, 82 (3.0%) were infected with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus, 98 (3.6%) with influenza A (H3N2) virus, and 2 (0.1%) with both. In reviewing the data they found that among cases of H1N1 pandemic influenza, 1 case reported onset on 17 May, 3 on 21 May, 7 on 22 May, 11 on 23 May, 6 on 24 May and 31 on the last day of the cruise, 25 May.  Among cases of H3N2 seasonal influenza, 1 case reported onset on 18 May, 9 on 21 May, 13 on 22 May, 9 on 23 May, 11 on 24 May and 22 on 25 May. 

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Page Updated: Wednesday 25 June 2014
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW