Cruiseship docks at Copenhagen with H1N1 passengers on board

emerald princess cruiseThe Emerald Princess cruiseship, which docked at Copenhagen recently, was carrying at least 14 known patients who have contracted the H1N1 flu virus. The Politiken newspaper reports that 13 of the patients are crewmembers, while only one flu victim is a passenger.

The ship was en route to Copenhagen and on to Warnemunde and Rostock by way of Helsingborg in Sweden. There are 4,400 passengers and crewmembers on board the Emerald Princess. The city was debating whether to let the remaining passengers ashore in Copenhagen. “Initially we will be finding out how many have been infected and how ill they are,” said Copenhagen Chief Medical Officer Arne Scheel Thomsen.

Statens Seruminstitut, the Danish national serum institute, told the Politiken that the final decision whether to quarantine the ship was in the hands of the chief medical officer. “At sea, the captain’s word is supreme. But prior to arriving in port, vessel authorities must inform the authorities there if there are infected people on board, and the Medical Officer then decides what to do,” explained Statens Seruminstitut Departmental Medical Officer Steffen Glismann.

Glismann said that several ships have been denied access to the port in Copenhagen over the years. “In one case a cruiseship was quarantined at sea for 14 days with all its passengers on board before it was allowed in,” he said. Although there has yet to be a fatality from the flu virus in Denmark, there have been 58 people who contracted the H1N1 virus in Denmark so far. 

Read more at Politiken, Danish news source.

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