Cruise ship suspected source of outbreak that closed Halifax restaurants
A cruise ship that stopped in Halifax about two weeks ago is the suspected source of an outbreak that shut down two restaurants on the waterfront this week.
It turns out at least 200 people on the ship reported feeling ill, and restaurant and business owners in downtown Halifax are now asking why they weren’t notified of the outbreak.
Lisa Drader-Murphy owns a clothing store in Bishop’s Landing. She developed norovirus-like symptoms Sunday; about a week after her store manager fell ill.
“We had had an incident, or a day in our store where many cruise ship passengers had come through and told our staff there was a Norwalk outbreak on their cruise ship,” says Drader-Murphy.
The Carnival Glory docked in Halifax on Aug. 9 and it appears it may have carried more than just passengers to the waterfront.
Two waterfront restaurants, The Bicycle Thief and Ristorante a Mano, had to close after at least 26 staff and customers became ill with what also appears to be the norovirus.
According to a statement released by the Carnival Glory, of the roughly 4,800 people on board the ship, roughly 200 had norovirus-like symptoms when they docked in Halifax.
Carnival Cruise Lines tells CTV News all guests who experienced norovirus-like symptoms were required to remain on the ship and not go into port. It also says Health Canada was notified of the outbreak.
In a statement to CTV News, Health Canada says:
Health Canada was made aware of the presence of a gastrointestinal illness aboard the Carnival Glory on August 9, 2012. As gastrointestinal illness rates did not exceed three per cent of the passengers or crew while in Canadian waters, no official inspections were conducted.
However, calculations made by CTV News show otherwise, as three per cent of the ship makes up 143 passengers and Carnival Cruise says a total of 215 passengers were sick.
Some Halifax residents say the outbreak has made them think twice about dining on the waterfront.
“Certainly be more cautious, knowing that’s around right now, until everything’s cleared,” says Scott Chapman. “It’s certainly disconcerting.”
“I would think twice about visiting a restaurant on the waterfront that would be frequented by the cruise ships,” says Gary Armitage.
The Bicycle Thief and Ristorante a Mano remained closed today, although food safety officials gave the owners approval to re-open.
The owners say they chose to keep the restaurants closed for an extra day as a precautionary measure, and they plan to re-open tomorrow.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Alyse Hand