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Princess Cruises illnesses: Highly contagious virus sickens dozens on ship

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The number of Princess Cruises illnesses has risen and authorities say that 66 passengers and 17 crew members have now been sickened by the highly contagious norovirus. It was previously reported on Monday that 37 passengers fell ill while the cruise ship was docked in San Diego. A report from the Associated Press via ABC News on April 9 confirmed that the Princess Cruises illnesses were caused by norovirus, a common gastrointestinal virus that can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The virus is transmitted by fecally contaminated food or water, by person-to-person contact, and via aerosolization of the virus and subsequent contamination of surfaces, Wikipedia writes.

The Crown Princess of Princess Cruises left Los Angeles on April 5 for a seven-day cruise along the coast of California. Due to the norovirus outbreak, the ship was forced to quarantine the sick in their cabins.

Regarding the Princess Cruises illnesses, Princess Cruises spokeswoman Karen Candy said that crew members performed extensive surface cleaning and applied disinfecting gel throughout the ship to prevent further spread of the virus.

Passengers were also encouraged to use their own bathrooms when possible and wash hands regularly. The Crown Princess is on a seven day cruise that includes various stops in California after leaving from Los Angeles on Saturday.

There were seven cases of norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships last year, with a total of 1,238 passengers. That's less than one percent of 21 million passengers who traveled on the Cruise Line International Association of that year, UT San Diego reports.

The Center for Disease Control reported that another Princess Cruise ship was hit with an outbreak of norovirus this year. Reports indicate that 181 passengers and 11 crew members were affected by the disease while on the Caribbean Princess.

Earlier this year, more than 300 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship became sick during a voyage. According to the statement regarding the matter, 281 of the 3,050 passengers and 22 of 1,165 crew members of Explorer of the Seas suffered vomiting and diarrhea. The CDC said the cause of the illness was unknown, CNN reports. More on that story in the video above this article.

The CDC is currently investigating the Princess Cruises illnesses and an official report regarding the incident is expected to be released soon. Updates to this story will be posted here as they are made available.

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