Monday, February 10, 2014

Oops. The “Cruise Ship Disease” Hits A Land-Based Resort

After an intestinal virus sickened hundreds of guests and employees, the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York closed at 1 pm last Friday and isn't expected to reopen until Feb. 14. A National Historic Landmark resort and Historic Hotel of America in the Catskill Mountains, the 269-room resort is located about 90 miles north of New York City and overlooks a lake in Ulster County. A disaster-remediation company has been hired to sanitize the facilities that accommodate 600 guests.

Quoted on CBS News, Nina Smiley of Mohonk Mountain House, which has been family-owned since 1869, said, “It’s a stomach virus and it hits people differently, and some people bounce back after a number of hours, and some people, it takes longer.”

Guests began reporting their illness at the resort more than a week ago and management realized by a week ago Sunday that they had a serious problem requiring a disaster cleanup effort. According to Smiley, “They are touching every inch and they are sanitizing.”

Why is this worth mentioning on a cruise-related blog? Well, because it just goes to show that Norovirus strikes wherever a large number of people are brought together on land or at sea. Guests probably arrived at the Mohonk Mountain House resort sick, just as they do when boarding cruise ships. However, we doubt that resort guests are asked upon check-in if they have had recent diarrhea or a persistent cough, questions that cruise ship passengers are required to answer in writing before boarding. Plus, it apparently took the resort almost a week to send guests home, shut the facilities down, and start the clean up.

We wonder if the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) has been as interested in this obvious outbreak of Norovirus as they are whenever it happens in such numbers on cruise ships. While media outlets have covered the story in the northeast, it’s obvious that the mainstream media has only paid passing attention to the situation as there has been little mention of it in national news. I only learned of it after Mel mentioned he heard a report on a satellite radio business channel while in the car. I read a lot of news stories online, but I had turn to Google to get the details.

“It could have started anywhere. It could have come from anywhere, and it could be from anywhere. This could happen anywhere,” Mohonk’s Smiley said. Her statement sounds somewhat desperate, although we are sure that cruise line executives would agree with her.

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