SOME passengers on a cruise liner were not allowed to disembark at the Kings Wharf yesterday after they were found to be infected with a virus.
And the Ministry of Health will now increase surveillance on vomitting and diarrhoea in the Suva area for the next seven days to see if the virus has spread to the local community.
Health officials boarded the Rhapsody of the Seas, which berthed in Suva yesterday morning with 2213 passengers, after receiving information from the vessel's medical crew on a suspected Norovirus on board.
Norovirus is acquired by ingesting material contaminated with small amounts of infected faeces or fluids.
Health Ministry's National Adviser on Communicable Diseases Doctor Mike Kama said ministry officials boarded the ship and found that two per cent of the passengers had contracted the virus. "There were a handful of passengers (two per cent) that contracted Norovirus.
"The disease is mild, self-limiting and resolves within 24 to 48 hours of onset," he said.
"The virus is well contained on board the Rhapsody according to the assessment conducted by the local health team."
Dr Kama said the sick passengers, as well as their contacts and families were quarantined in their rooms and denied the opportunity to disembark.
"The ministry doesn't expect the situation on the Rhapsody to impose a significant threat on the Suva population.
"Notwithstanding, the ministry will increase its surveillance on vomiting and diarrhoea for the next seven days as a precautionary measure," he said.
The MV Rhapsody of the Seas arrived in Suva from Port Denarau where a quarantine situation was also imposed. It left Suva at 5pm yesterday for the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia.