Hasty Ruminations

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Cruise Lines Object to 'Outbreak'

Posted by Hello
By EVAN PEREZ and BETSY MCKAY, Staff Reporters, The Wall Street Journal

"A month into the cruise industry's "wave season," when cruise companies get the bulk of their bookings, more than 1,100 passengers on seven ships have gotten sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the current rate, the number of onboard outbreaks in 2005 will top last year's record of 37.

"There's no sign that the latest illnesses are hurting bookings, which did happen in 2003 after negative publicity from an outbreak. Cruise lines have tried squashing the virus with everything from stronger industrial cleaners and new sanitation regimens to installing antibacterial hand sanitizers near the buffet line. Passengers who are a bit green before their cruise are being asked to stay home.

"But those efforts haven't proven enough to keep the virus at bay. So now the cruise industry is proposing a new remedy of sorts. Frustrated by the media coverage that often accompanies onboard illnesses, the International Council of Cruise Lines, a trade group that lobbies on behalf of cruise companies, has asked the CDC to eliminate the word "outbreak" from the agency's health reports. "If they used the words 'increased incidences,' it wouldn't be misreported by the media," says Michael Crye, the trade group's president. "

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Here’s some ideas for “new terms”: How about “Loveboatfluenza”? Or “Boatulism”? Maybe “Oceanic Pandemic”?

It sounds like a new name will confuse the public, enhancing ticket sales. Kind of like calling the Korean War a “police action”, isn’t it?


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