Recently, a report was published describing a string of cases of Norwalk virus gastroenteritis among passengers on cruise ships. From this report, an epidemiologist went on to form a number of hypotheses as to why there had been this rather unusual increase in reported gastroenteritis outbreaks on cruise ships in 2012. The cruise ship owners contacted the Centers of Disease control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct an in-depth analysis of the possible modes of transmission of the Norwalk virus in the cruise ship environment. CDC investigators interviewed all of the passengers on the last affected cruise (N=3,000) and obtained information on the passenger’s recreational activities. They found the following results: 1,000 passengers had gone swimming in the upper deck pool and 2,000 passengers had never gone swimming in the upper deck pool. 100 of the passengers who swam in the upper deck pool and 100 of the passengers who did not swim in this pool developed Norwalk virus gastroenteritis during the cruise. FYI: The cruise lasted one week.
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