Proceedings Of The Marine

SUM 2014

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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14 Proceedings Summer 2014 The USCG assists when the CDC director issues a no-sail order to a ship that represents an imminent health hazard to passengers and crew members. Surveillance and Outbreak Response CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program also focuses on acute gas- troenteritis syndromic (based on symptoms) surveillance and outbreak response. Cruise ships use VSP's electronic surveillance system to report the total number of cases (including zero cases) the medical staff has evaluated, before the ship arrives in a U.S. port from a foreign port. Personnel also use the surveillance system to send auto- matic, real-time electronic notifications to stakeholders and partners when the illness count exceeds 2 percent of the total number of passengers or crew when the vessel is within 15 days of arrival at a U.S. port. Ship crew, cruise line representatives, and VSP staffers use this early alert to communicate and consult with one another, so they can reduce the further spread of illness. Ship personnel also send separate outbreak notifcations when 3 percent or more of passengers or crew report acute gastroenteritis symptoms to the ship's medical staff and for other outbreaks of public health signifcance. A team of environmental health offcers and a program epi- demiologist are dispatched to the ship to investigate the outbreak, recommend mitigation measures to minimize fur- ther spread during the voyage, prevent carry-over to future voyages, and develop program guidance to assist ships in avoiding similar occurrences. Outbreak updates are also made public online. 3 Inspection Fees CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program is unique in that it is entirely self-supporting. All program expenses — including personnel, travel, outbreak investigations, and direct train- ing expenses — are covered by a fee cruise ship owners pay, based on the ship's size. This fee also covers operational inspections, re-inspections, and on-site and fnal construc- tion inspections. There is no fee for plan reviews or outbreak investigations. 4 Going Forward The VSP staff assists the cruise ship industry in providing a healthy cruising environment through construction con- sultation, training, operations inspections, surveillance, and outbreak response. About the author: CDR Luis O. Rodriguez is an environmental health offcer and the assistant VSP training coordinator. Previous assignments include serving as a con- sumer safety offcer with the Food and Drug Administration in San Juan, P.R., and Rockville, Md. Endnotes: 1. The Public Health Service Act, Part G, Quarantine and Inspection (Public Health Service Act: Quarantine and Inspection Regulations, 42 U.S.C.§264) provides the program's inspection and surveillance authority. U.S. foreign quarantine regula- tions (42 CFR Part 71) also require ships to immediately report onboard deaths and certain communicable illnesses to CDC, but not to VSP. Those reports are sent to CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. 2. Program staffers post all fnal reports for public view on VSP's searchable inspec- tion database []. The Corrective Action Statement submitted by the cruise line for each of the inspection fndings is also posted on the inspection results website. 3. See 4. The fee schedule is published each year in the Federal Register and is also posted on the VSP website, For More Information: Planning a Cruise? If you're planning to cruise, check out VSP's website at w w / vsp/ for inspection scores and reports for cruise ships you're considering and to fnd tips on how to stay healthy while aboard. Additionally, VSP holds an annual public meeting for all stakeholders, including the cruising public, to have a public forum discussing all aspects of the program. See program details at Summer2014_22.indd 14 5/13/14 9:45 AM

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