Editorial: The dangers of modern travel

POSTED: 01/28/14 12:05 PM

A potential disaster was wisely avoided yesterday with the relevant health authorities requesting that Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas turn back and return to home port rather than dock here. Hundreds of passengers and crew were reportedly infected by the norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus that causes a variety of unpleasant effects, like constant vomiting and diarrhea.

We tend to speak glowingly of globalization and the expansion of world tourism through rapid travel and connectivity around the world, but that same speed in connectivity also has a downside: the quick spreading of contagious diseases, as large numbers of people are moved within a matter of days or even hours from one part of the world to another. Throughout history, deadly diseases among human populations usually spread along trade and travel routes.

Yesterday’s scenario is a potent reminder for local authorities to remain vigilant and to keep the communication channels open with international agencies like the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta.

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