A sustained gastro outbreak has hit passengers on the Indian Pacific train from Sydney to Perth. Picture: Quentin Jones
A sustained gastro outbreak has hit passengers on the Indian Pacific train from Sydney to Perth. Picture: Quentin Jones

Huge gastro outbreak hits luxury train

Being stuck on public transport and feeling sick is enough to make anyone feel queasy. So spare a thought for the more than 100 passengers who fell ill while on the Indian Pacific train.

A sustained outbreak of gastro has wiped out passengers on "Australia's most luxurious train" that operates between Sydney and Perth.

News of the situation first came to light on September 10 with the last case confirmed on Wednesday this week.

Director of SA Health's communicable disease control branch Dr Louise Flood said the department had been working with Great Southern Rail to try and "control this outbreak".

She confirmed that ill passengers were contained to their rooms and entire carriages were taken out of service because of the potency of the norovirus.

More than 100 passengers travelling on the luxury Indian Pacific train have been hit with gastro. Picture: Quentin Jones
More than 100 passengers travelling on the luxury Indian Pacific train have been hit with gastro. Picture: Quentin Jones

Dr Flood said the department had been providing advice to Great Southern Rail, the company which runs the route.

"Norovirus is very hard to control once it is in the environment," Dr Flood said.

"Things like steam cleaning the carpets can control the outbreak as well as people who are sick being isolated.

"Some have been getting off the train while others have been finishing the trip in isolation.

"We have been providing advice about cleaning, availability of hand hygiene, appropriate protocols in place."

Norovirus is incredibly infectious and symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach crams, according to SA Health's website.

The service which travels from Sydney to Perth is known for being luxury. Picture: Supplied
The service which travels from Sydney to Perth is known for being luxury. Picture: Supplied

Symptoms usually begin 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus, but can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure.

There's no treatment for the virus, but experts advise keeping fluids up and getting plenty of rest. However should symptoms persist, or signs of dehydration develop, seek medical assistance immediately.

A spokeswoman for Great Southern Rail said there had been "intermittent cases of suspected gastro over the past four weeks".

"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," she said.

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

The Queen Adelaide restaurant inside the Gold Service dining car on the Indian Pacific train. Picture: Supplied
The Queen Adelaide restaurant inside the Gold Service dining car on the Indian Pacific train. Picture: Supplied

"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."

The Indian Pacific train service is known for being a spectacular 4352km journey, with prices for the luxury trip starting at $1819 per person according to its website.


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