Dangers on Board: The Risk of Legionnaires’ Disease on Cruise Ships
While cruise ship vacations promise to be filled with excitement, relaxation, and adventure, there are still some dangers lurking on board that passengers should be aware of. As with anything, travelling by cruise ship pose several risks that can easily be mitigated by the operator’s careful diligence. Without proper safety precautions and regulations, these risks can become a real concern. One of the most pressing risks on cruise ships is the danger of contracting Legionnaires’ disease from contaminated water sources.
A serious medical condition, Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria that thrive in warm water. Hot tubs, swimming pools, and fountain parks are some of the most common sources of a Legionella outbreak. Simply inhaling mist or vapor coming from these contaminated water sources is enough to infect an individual. Considering that these facilities are common in plenty of cruise ship, the threat of contracting Legionnaires’ disease while on vacation should be something that all passengers are aware of.
Legionnaires’ disease causes symptoms that are similar to pneumonia. The first signs of illness can be observed anytime around 2 to 14 days following initial exposure. A patient with Legionnaires’ diseases can expect to suffer from a high fever, intense headaches, muscle aches, coughing, and some difficulty breathing. The condition can also cause gastrointestinal issues in some patients. Without prompt medical treatment, Legionnaires’ disease can be extremely dangerous and cause respiratory failure and infections to vital organs. As such, it’s crucial that patients have access to an antibiotic regimen prescribed by their physician.
Passengers that become exposed to Legionella contaminated water can also suffer from a milder version of Legionnaires’ disease called Pontiac Fever. This can cause the same symptoms that can easily clear up on its own after several days. The threat of an infection or respiratory failure is minimal.
According to this website, Legionnaires’ disease isn’t the only problem that could arise on board cruise ships. Aside from water contamination, the threat of food contamination can lead to food poisoning and other gastrointestinal problems.