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Royal Caribbean cruise ship outbreak: 10-day cruise ending early, 600+ fall ill

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A Royal Caribbean cruise ship outbreak caused over 600 ill passengers and an environmental safety officer and an epidemiologist will be going on board to try and figure out what caused the sickness. On Jan. 26, Reuters reported that several passengers were vomiting and had diarrhea, which sounds like a classic case of norovirus, which is not uncommon on cruise ships.

"The CDC said in a statement that 281 passengers and 22 crew members aboard the Explorer of the Seas reported becoming sick during a voyage. The ship was carrying 3,050 passengers and a crew of 1,165," Reuters reports (via Yahoo!).

The Royal Caribbean cruise had ill passengers toward the end of the cruise. The ship departed New Jersey on Jan. 21 but it's unclear how long the cruise was for. A seven-day cruise would have the ship heading back to New Jersey on Tuesday. If the norovirus is going around, several more passengers could come down with the illness over the next 48 hours. However, some extra measures have been taken to try and stop the spreading of germs.

"The ship's crew increased cleaning and disinfection procedures and had collected specimens from those who reported being ill following the outbreak, the CDC said" (Reuters).

Those ill on the Royal Caribbean cruise may or may not get some sort of ship credit. Royal Caribbean could not be reached for comment.

Update: The 10-day cruise is returning to port two days early (source).

© Effie Orfanides 2014

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