Each year, norovirus causes 19-21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis on average in the U.S., leading to outpatient and emergency room visits and, in some cases, death. Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can quickly and easily spread on a cruise ship where people are in close proximity.

To prevent a norovirus outbreak from wreaking havoc on a cruise line’s reputation, it’s important to address hand hygiene risks and know how to identify an effective hand sanitizing solution.

Fighting Norovirus

Hands play a significant factor in the spread of norovirus. Cruise ships should post signage to encourage proper hand hygiene among passengers and employees at key moments, including:

  • After using the bathroom, changing diapers, cleaning up after pets or handling money

  • Before and after eating

  • Before and after food preparation

  • After coughing or sneezing

When soap and water are not available or when hands are not visibly soiled, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the ideal choice for fighting norovirus. Cruise lines should provide hand sanitizing stations throughout the ship to allow passengers and workers to conveniently sanitize their hands.

Sanitizer Selection

Not all hand sanitizers are created equally. In fact, not all hand sanitizers are effective against norovirus. Typically hand sanitizers must have a minimum of 70 percent alcohol to be considered effective, but alcohol level alone is no guarantee of efficacy.

To learn about key sanitizer considerations, including efficacy claims and moisturizing properties, as well as information about Diversey Care’s hand sanitizers, please download our free white paper, “Hand Sanitizer Selection: Limiting Norovirus Outbreaks on Cruise Ships.”