Gastro-afflicted ship docks in Hobart, passengers hospitalised

Gastro is probably the last souvenir most cruise-goers would want to bring home to their friends and family.

On Tuesday, it was reported that a bout of gastro had struck a number of passengers on Ovation of the Seas, a cruise ship currently docked in Hobart.

Before it docked in the state’s capital, the ship’s operators notified authorities that it had been experiencing more cases of gastro than expected.

Tasmania’s Public Health Director Mark Veitch said state health authorities had worked “cooperatively” with the cruise ship.

“It is not uncommon for ships that carry large numbers of passengers and crew … to experience a level of illness very similar to that of the normal population,” he said.

“Outbreaks of highly infectious conditions such as gastro and respiratory illness can also occur in cruise ships, where a population the size of a medium-sized town mixes closely together.

“The ship informed us that a small number of passengers who were likely to require transfer to hospital for medical conditions not necessarily linked to gastroenteritis.”

Dr Veitch said five passengers had received treatment at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

“It is common for cruise ships to request additional medical assistance for more seriously ill passengers,” he said.

Dr Veitch stressed that the illness among cruise ship passengers posed no public health risk to Tasmanians.