open access

Vol 72, No 2 (2021)
Original article
Published online: 2021-06-28
Submitted: 2021-01-24
Accepted: 2021-05-31
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Outbreak of COVID-19 on an industrial ship

Ewout Fanoy1, Anke Elisabeth Ummels1, Valerie Schokkenbroek1, Bas van Dijk2, Saskia Wiegmans2, Thijs Veenstra3, Annemiek A. van der Eijk4, Reina S. Sikkema4, Annemieke de Raad1
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2021.0016
·
Pubmed: 34212347
·
International Maritime Health 2021;72(2):87-92.
Affiliations
  1. Municipal Public Health Service Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  2. Harbour Coordination Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  3. National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, Netherlands
  4. Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands

open access

Vol 72, No 2 (2021)
MARITIME MEDICINE Original article
Published online: 2021-06-28
Submitted: 2021-01-24
Accepted: 2021-05-31

Abstract

Background: People on ships are at high risk for outbreaks of infectious diseases including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A rapid and well-coordinated response is important to curb transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We studied an outbreak on an industrial ship to improve outbreak control for ships and coordination between participating harbour partners.
Materials and methods: Public Health Service (PHS) Rotterdam-Rijnmond performed an epidemiological investigation during the outbreak of COVID-19 among 77 seafarers on a ship in their port. The captain was interviewed about ship details and his experiences during the outbreak. The seafarers were asked to fill in questionnaires about symptoms suspicious of COVID-19 and date of symptom onset. Information about stakeholders involved in outbreak control was registered.
Results: The captain first contacted PHS about probable cases on March 31st 2020 via a physician ashore. One crewmember was hospitalised on April 8th and another died unexpectedly aboard on April 10th. Questionnaires distributed mid-April to the 75 remaining seafarers showed that 38 of 60 responders (63%) had had suspicious symptoms between February 15th and April 13th. None of them were tested but a total of 8 other crewmembers tested positive for COVID-19 after leaving the ship, including the hospitalised crewmember and the one who died aboard. On May 5th, the last case left isolation and the quarantine ended. Many different stakeholders were involved in the outbreak response and responsibilities were not always fully clear beforehand, causing coordination issues.
Conclusions: Testing crew with COVID-19 symptoms underpins control measures and clarifies communication between stakeholders. Building a network beforehand to develop outbreak guidelines tailored to ships and local circumstances is essential to control future outbreaks on ships.

Abstract

Background: People on ships are at high risk for outbreaks of infectious diseases including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A rapid and well-coordinated response is important to curb transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We studied an outbreak on an industrial ship to improve outbreak control for ships and coordination between participating harbour partners.
Materials and methods: Public Health Service (PHS) Rotterdam-Rijnmond performed an epidemiological investigation during the outbreak of COVID-19 among 77 seafarers on a ship in their port. The captain was interviewed about ship details and his experiences during the outbreak. The seafarers were asked to fill in questionnaires about symptoms suspicious of COVID-19 and date of symptom onset. Information about stakeholders involved in outbreak control was registered.
Results: The captain first contacted PHS about probable cases on March 31st 2020 via a physician ashore. One crewmember was hospitalised on April 8th and another died unexpectedly aboard on April 10th. Questionnaires distributed mid-April to the 75 remaining seafarers showed that 38 of 60 responders (63%) had had suspicious symptoms between February 15th and April 13th. None of them were tested but a total of 8 other crewmembers tested positive for COVID-19 after leaving the ship, including the hospitalised crewmember and the one who died aboard. On May 5th, the last case left isolation and the quarantine ended. Many different stakeholders were involved in the outbreak response and responsibilities were not always fully clear beforehand, causing coordination issues.
Conclusions: Testing crew with COVID-19 symptoms underpins control measures and clarifies communication between stakeholders. Building a network beforehand to develop outbreak guidelines tailored to ships and local circumstances is essential to control future outbreaks on ships.

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Keywords

COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus, outbreak, ship, harbour, public health service

About this article
Title

Outbreak of COVID-19 on an industrial ship

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 72, No 2 (2021)

Article type

Original article

Pages

87-92

Published online

2021-06-28

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2021.0016

Pubmed

34212347

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2021;72(2):87-92.

Keywords

COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2
coronavirus
outbreak
ship
harbour
public health service

Authors

Ewout Fanoy
Anke Elisabeth Ummels
Valerie Schokkenbroek
Bas van Dijk
Saskia Wiegmans
Thijs Veenstra
Annemiek A. van der Eijk
Reina S. Sikkema
Annemieke de Raad

References (8)
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  2. Moriarty LF, Plucinski MM, Marston BJ, et al. Public Health Responses to COVID-19 Outbreaks on Cruise Ships - Worldwide, February-March 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020; 69(12): 347–352.
  3. Nakazawa E, Ino H, Akabayashi A. Chronology of COVID-19 Cases on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship and Ethical Considerations: A Report From Japan. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2020; 14(4): 506–513.
  4. Koh D. Occupational risks for COVID-19 infection. Occup Med (Lond). 2020; 70(1): 3–5.
  5. Dahl E. Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on the cruise ship Diamond Princess. Int Marit Health. 2020; 71(1): 5–8.
  6. Mallapaty S. What the cruise-ship outbreaks reveal about COVID-19. Nature. 2020; 580(7801): 18.
  7. Rocklöv J, Sjödin H, Wilder-Smith A. COVID-19 outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship: estimating the epidemic potential and effectiveness of public health countermeasures. J Travel Med. 2020; 27(3): taaa030.
  8. Mouchtouri VA, Dirksen-Fischer M, Hadjichristodoulou C. Health measures to travellers and cruise ships in response to COVID-19. J Travel Med. 2020; 27(3): taaa043.

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