103 fall ill on Caribbean cruise; norovirus suspected
Ninety seven of about 1,950 passengers on the ship and another six crew members became sick during the 10-day voyage.india Updated: Dec 11, 2006 05:54 IST
About 100 people came down with a gastrointestinal illness aboard a Caribbean cruise.
The Sun Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, was undergoing a thorough cleaning after docking at Port Everlades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Julie Benson, a spokeswoman for Santa Clarita, California-based Princess said 97 of about 1,950 passengers on the ship and another six crew members became sick during the 10-day voyage.
"This is not a very serious outbreak, but we did treat it as we treat all increased incidents," she said, "very immediately and swiftly."
Test results had not yet been received, but Benson said affected passengers and workers had symptoms consistent with the highly contagious norovirus. Norovirus is a common source of illness on land, but has also created large outbreaks at sea, most recently when nearly 700 passengers fell ill on the Carnival Liberty last month on a trans-Atlantic cruise.
Princess crew members noticed higher-than-normal levels of illness about half way through the voyage and implemented changes, including a stop to self-service buffets and increased disinfecting measures.
Benson said the Sun Princess would undergo extra cleaning, but still would set sail later Sunday as scheduled.
Norovirus is a group of viruses that cause stomach flu symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps, according to the CDC. The illness usually lasts one to two days without any long-term health effects.
It spreads through contaminated food or liquids, by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then placing that hand in one's mouth, or through direct contact with someone who is infected and showing symptoms.