The Varicella Cluster on a Cruise Ship, 2014

Yu-Hsuan Lin, Jiun-Shian Kuo, Hwan-Feng Wang

2014 Vol.30 NO.20

Correspondence Author: Yu-Hsuan Lin

  • Taipei Regional Center, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan


      A cruise ship reported 4 crew cases of varicella during 23rd Apr to 26th May, 2014. The attack rate to the crew members was about 0.36%. The Taiwan CDC quarantine officers and ship authorities conducted a series of case and contact investigations on board. The result showed that the virus presumably spread among common living area (crew cabin), and then causing chain infection. Compare to the crew cabin, the transmission risk of the virus through working place (casino) or air conditioner system of crew cabin is relatively low. In addition, there were some biases such as recall bias, cultural or language barriers when ship authorities tried to conduct contact investigation through face-to-face interview and questionnaire. We suggest screening the immunity of crew members by serologic test first, then vaccinate if necessary for whom at high risk, such as newly sign-on crews and crews living in the area with same nationality.

Keywords:cruise ship, varicella, quarantine, cluster, vaccine