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Outbreaks of gastroenteritis associated with noroviruses on cruise ships--United States, 2002.

During January 1-December 2, 2002, CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP), which conducts surveillance for acute gastroenteritis (AGE) on cruise ships with foreign itineraries sailing into U.S. ports received reports of 21 outbreaks of AGE on 17 cruise ships. Of the 21 outbreaks, nine were confirmed by laboratory analysis of stool specimens from affected persons to be associated with noroviruses, three were attributable to bacterial agents, and nine were of unknown etiology. Seven outbreaks were reported in 2001, and of these, four were confirmed to be associated with norovirus (CDC, unpublished data, 2002). This report describes five of the norovirus outbreaks that occurred during July 1-December 2, 2002, on cruise ships.

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