Suspected norovirus sickens 218 cruise ship passengers, crews

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

San Juan, Puerto Rico (4E) – A Royal Caribbean cruise ship’s 10-day New Jersey-to-St. Maarten trip was interrupted on Sunday when 218 passengers and crews suffered diarrhea and vomiting.

The Explorer of the Seas carrying 3,050 passengers and 1,165 crews skipped a stop to Haiti and proceeded to San Juan, Puerto Rico for sanitizing, according to Royal Caribbean International spokeswoman Janet Diaz.

Those who got ill were given medication on board and are recuperating, the company added.

Health inspectors from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are boarding the vessel in Virgin Islands on Sunday to investigate the cause of the sickness and assess the ship crews’ response.

Norovirus is suspected of causing the gastrointestinal illness. People get infected with the virus through contaminated food or water. Infection is prevented by thorough handwashing with hot water and soap. Meticulous environmental cleaning also helps stop the spread of the infection.

Norovirus was also blamed for sickening 204 passengers and 16 crew members of the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship during its voyage from Dec. 22, 2012 to Jan. 3, 2013, according to CDC.

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