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Vol 61, No 2 (2010)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2010-07-09
Submitted: 2013-02-18
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State of the art: public health and passenger ships

Varvara A Mouchtouri, Gordon Nichols, George Rachiotis, Jenny Kremastinou, Ioannis S Arvanitoyannis, Tobias Riemer, Bogdan Jaremin, Christos Hadjichristodoulou, for the SHIPSAN partnership
International Maritime Health 2010;61(2):53-98.

open access

Vol 61, No 2 (2010)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2010-07-09
Submitted: 2013-02-18

Abstract

Background. The purpose of this report is to describe issues relevant to public health and to review all passenger ship associated diseases and outbreaks. Moreover, legislation and practices on sanitation and diseases surveillance related to ships internationally were also reviewed. Some relevant historical information about infections on merchant ships is provided as well.
Material and methods. The methods used to develop the state-of-the-art report included a scientific literature review and an extensive and thorough search of the websites of organisations and government departments. A considerable effort was made to capitalise on previous experience in the field. In particular, for the literature review, a total of 158 scientific articles were used including 91 full papers and 67 abstracts, 7 guidelines published by the WHO, and 13 guideline documents published by other organisations. Moreover, 5 international conventions relevant to passenger ships were identified.
Results. At the international level, public health issues related to ships are regulated by the revised International Health Regulations (2005). Other conventions of the International Maritime Organization regulate safety on board ships and waste and ballast water management, while conventions of the International Labour Organization regulates issues related to working conditions on board ships. Guidelines for preventing and controlling public health threats on board ships can be found in seven Guidelines published by the World Health Organization, including the WHO Guide to Ship Sanitation, which provides a framework for policy making and local decision making. The literature review results revealed that the infections/outbreaks that occur on passenger ships include Norovirus, Legionella spp., Salmonella spp., E. coli, Vibrio spp., and influenza A and B virus. The modes of transmission include person to person, waterborne, foodborne, airborne, and vectorborne, and shore excursions are responsible for some outbreaks.
Conclusions. The industry (especially the ferry industry) and sanitary organisations can enhance collaboration in order to implement integrated hygiene programmes and prevent the occurrence of communicable diseases aboard passenger ships.

Abstract

Background. The purpose of this report is to describe issues relevant to public health and to review all passenger ship associated diseases and outbreaks. Moreover, legislation and practices on sanitation and diseases surveillance related to ships internationally were also reviewed. Some relevant historical information about infections on merchant ships is provided as well.
Material and methods. The methods used to develop the state-of-the-art report included a scientific literature review and an extensive and thorough search of the websites of organisations and government departments. A considerable effort was made to capitalise on previous experience in the field. In particular, for the literature review, a total of 158 scientific articles were used including 91 full papers and 67 abstracts, 7 guidelines published by the WHO, and 13 guideline documents published by other organisations. Moreover, 5 international conventions relevant to passenger ships were identified.
Results. At the international level, public health issues related to ships are regulated by the revised International Health Regulations (2005). Other conventions of the International Maritime Organization regulate safety on board ships and waste and ballast water management, while conventions of the International Labour Organization regulates issues related to working conditions on board ships. Guidelines for preventing and controlling public health threats on board ships can be found in seven Guidelines published by the World Health Organization, including the WHO Guide to Ship Sanitation, which provides a framework for policy making and local decision making. The literature review results revealed that the infections/outbreaks that occur on passenger ships include Norovirus, Legionella spp., Salmonella spp., E. coli, Vibrio spp., and influenza A and B virus. The modes of transmission include person to person, waterborne, foodborne, airborne, and vectorborne, and shore excursions are responsible for some outbreaks.
Conclusions. The industry (especially the ferry industry) and sanitary organisations can enhance collaboration in order to implement integrated hygiene programmes and prevent the occurrence of communicable diseases aboard passenger ships.
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Keywords

passenger ship; diseases surveillance; prevention

About this article
Title

State of the art: public health and passenger ships

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 61, No 2 (2010)

Pages

53-98

Published online

2010-07-09

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2010;61(2):53-98.

Keywords

passenger ship
diseases surveillance
prevention

Authors

Varvara A Mouchtouri
Gordon Nichols
George Rachiotis
Jenny Kremastinou
Ioannis S Arvanitoyannis
Tobias Riemer
Bogdan Jaremin
Christos Hadjichristodoulou
for the SHIPSAN partnership

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