Fort Lauderdale, FL — September 18, 2009 —
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reiterated this week its commitment to aggressively managing all cases of influenza, including the H1N1 virus, as the fall season approaches and brings a potential resurgence of the virus.
During the annual conference of Seatrade Europe in Hamburg, Germany, CLIA Executive Vice President Michael Crye highlighted the industry’s continued cooperation with international health authorities.
"Based on our consultations with health officials, the industry is continuously revising its policies and procedures as the situation dictates. As a result, we are in a position to respond quickly to evolving circumstances and to communicate professionally with medical authorities," said Crye.
CLIA’s current policies for the prevention and control of H1N1 cases are the result of months of work and collaboration among CLIA member lines, U.S. and international public health authorities, and ports around the world. Since the onset of the H1N1 outbreak, CLIA has held meetings and discussions with a variety of organizations, including the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pan American Health Organization, Caribbean Community and Common Market, United Nations World Tourism Organization, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
"We will continue to coordinate with health authorities around the world to ensure that CLIA protocols are up-to-date and effective. The cruise industry is taking these proactive steps out of an abundance of caution to keep H1N1 off of cruise ships and appropriately manage and treat any influenza illnesses when and if they occur," said Crye.
In May, CLIA announced enhanced screening protocols to protect the public. Under the new policy, all passengers are required to complete and sign a written questionnaire prior to boarding a CLIA member cruise ship anywhere in the world. A secondary screening will be conducted if a passenger reports on the questionnaire flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat, or contact with a confirmed Influenza A (H1N1) case.
Medical personnel at each cruise line will make case by case decisions regarding the boarding of these passengers. Passengers will not be permitted to travel if they exhibit influenza-like-illness or meet the suspect case conditions for H1N1 as defined by CDC.
Further, medical staff will isolate and treat passengers and crew with flu symptoms, if such a situation arises while the cruise ship is under way. CLIA member lines that operate internationally will maintain appropriate medical support equipment and medications, including anti-viral medications that are effective in treating flu, including H1N1.
CLIA member lines follow vessel sanitation and public health surveillance procedures that are subject to inspection by the CDC.