Possible swine flu on Alaska cruise ship

The numbers of cruise ship bookings to Alaska are down this year, and with a possible case of swine flu detected on board one ship in Alaska waters, I’m worried they could very well go down even more.

The Associated Press reports today that “a female crew member of the Serenade of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship, became ill May 2 while sailing from San Francisco northward.” Swine flu was suspected, and the Washington State Public Health Laboratory forwarded tests to the CDC, which is validating the results. Meanwhile, state officials in Alaska conducted its own tests in Ketchikan when the ship docked there. The results were negative, though officials note that the patient had been taking Tamiflu and hadn’t run a fever for several days, so the negative results were not surprising.

If this case turns out to be positive for swine flu, it will be the first reported case in Alaska.

UPDATE: Alaska health officials say tests confirmed that swine flu sickened the crew member, but she has since recovered after a course of treatment and a CDC-recommended 7-day period of isolation. However, Alaska health officials argue that the case can’t be considered Alaska’s “first case” of swine flu for several reasons, one being that the woman became ill before entering state waters.


[Via Anchorage Daily News]