Cruise Ship Illnesses: 80 Sick Aboard Princess Ship; May Be Norovirus

Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 04:00 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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The gastrointestinal illnesses of more than 80 people aboard a Princess Cruises cruise ship this week might be attributed to the norovirus.

According to CNN, most of those ill on The Crown Princess, which has capacity for 3,000 passengers and set sail Saturday on a Pacific cruise, were passengers, with 17 crew members reporting symptoms.

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All those affected have been isolated, and the ship is taking steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to stop the spread of the illness, said a Princess Cruises news release.

“At the first sign of an increase in the numbers of passengers reporting to the medical center with gastrointestinal illness, we immediately initiated additional enhanced sanitation procedures to interrupt the person-to-person spread of this virus,” KTVU quoted the release.

The CDC will be in charge of investigating the outbreak, which has not yet been confirmed as norovirus, KTVU.

Other cases of the norovirus, which is easily transmitted between people, on cruise ships have made the news in the past few years. Just this year, a Holland America, another Princess ship, and a Royal Caribbean ship all returned to port with ill passengers, all attributed to the norovirus or a norovirus-like illness.

In January, USA Today reported that there were nine outbreaks on ships in 2013, 16 in 2012 and 30 in 2006.

Despite the decreasing numbers of illnesses, the media attention to cruise ship issues have caused some people to hesitate about boarding one of the luxury liners.

The illness aboard January’s Royal Caribbean cruise affected about 700 people, one of the largest outbreaks. It was determined that norovirus was a new strain, called the Sydney strain.

More people than ever are cruising, and USA Today said the Cruise Lines International Association estimates 21.7 million people will cruise in 2014, significantly up over 15 million in 2010.

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