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CDC sending the big guns to investigate massive illness aboard RCL ship

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AOL and other news sources are reporting that “U.S. health officials are going on board Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas where a mysterious illness hit more than 300 people (crew and passengers). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 281, or nearly 10 percent, of the 3,050 passengers, and 22 crew members, aboard the luxury liner fell ill.

The AOL report said that company spokeswoman Janet Diaz said CDC officials are expected to soon board the behemoth ship in St. Thomas. According to sources the ship underwent an extensive sanitizing in Puerto Rico.

Because of the seriousness of these outbreaks and unfortunately frequency, every ship afloat today is equipped with hand sanitizers and notices requesting passengers and crew to wash their hands thoroughly. On a recent Celebrity cruise there crew members stood in front of entryways to dining venues to spray passenger’s hands. When a passenger reports symptoms similar to norovirus cruise lines usually quarantine them. Yours truly experienced norovirus-like symptoms on a cruise in 2008 and was quickly confined to her cabin and treated by the ship’s doctor and a nurse at no charge. Once my fever and other ailments abated I was allowed to walk around the ship.

According to news reports passengers who were stricken have been treated with over-the-counter medications for symptoms of the norovirus that include vomiting and diarrhea, which is what the cruise ship passengers have reported. The virus is fast-spreading especially in close quarters such as cruise ships and schools. .

Check out the video for more about viruses at sea.

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