Over 100 passengers Fall Ill From Gastro Outbreak on Indian Pacific Train

Over 100 passengers who boarded the Indian Pacific train left with more than they bargained for after a Norovirus outbreak on the convoy last month.

Norovirus is a highly infectious gastro virus that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. It is contracted through food, water, and surfaces infected by vomit or faeces of a carrier. Symptoms can occur as early as 12 hours after exposure, and include nausea, muscle pain, abdominal cramps and fever.

Passengers who began to feel the symptoms were confined to their rooms while others opted to disembark before the end of their journey. At least 2 people have required hospitalisation because they were so ill from the short-lived virus. 

A spokesperson for the Great Southern Rail has confirmed that there were 6 carriages affected and all necessary steps were being taken to control the outbreak.

The company, together with the South Australia health department and communicable disease control branch (CDCB) were working to isolate and flush out the virus. 

❝Norovirus is one of these agents that’s actually very hard to control once it’s in the environment❞

Director of SA health department and CDCB Dr. Louise Flood said, “Things like steam-cleaning the carpets and cleaning all the surfaces can help control the outbreak, as well as people are sick being isolated. So when people get unwell make sure they stay in their room to stop spreading it to other people.”

The railway company has also removed some carriages and taken down curtains and relevant equipment for cleaning.

Flood placed stress on understanding how contagious Norovirus can be and for all affected to take all measures to stop the spread “Norovirus is one of these agents that’s actually very hard to control once it’s in the environment.”  She also confirmed that the infected passengers were mostly older people and therefore more susceptible to illnesses. “The people on the Indian Pacific train tend to be older because that’s just the clientele. So when you get unwell when you’re older, it can affect you a little more than it does in a young, healthy person.”

The Indian Pacific is a transcontinental luxury tourist train that runs some 4,300km between Sydney and Perth. The train ride fares start from $1,819 and include tours of bush pioneers, adventurers and gold rush prospectors.

A spokesperson for the Great Southern Rail said that “On advice from SA Health, we have taken every available measure to control the spread; including boosting our existing high-standard hygiene practices, removing affected carriages and implementing heavy-duty cleaning at all stops”

“Three journeys have been made without any further reports. We will continue to monitor and closely liaise with the Health Department in the short term.”

“The health and wellbeing of our guests is paramount and we have acted quickly to respond to this situation, including communicating with all those boarding our recent journeys.”

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