Virus sickens 116 people on Royal Caribbean International cruise

Monday, January 10th 2005, 10:58 am
By: News On 6

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ Nearly 120 passengers and crew members became sick with a stomach virus aboard a ship that returned to port Saturday after a five-day Caribbean cruise, Royal Caribbean International officials said.

The outbreak of a Norwalk-type virus aboard the Enchantment of the Seas sickened 108 passengers and eight crew members, said company spokesman Michael Sheehan. It was traced to a man who had symptoms two days before boarding the ship Monday, he said.

A special cleaning of the 1,950-passenger ship was expected to delay a scheduled departure Saturday for a few hours, officials said.

Symptoms of Norwalk-like viruses include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and last up to 48 hours. No special medical treatment is required.

Such viruses affect 23 million Americans a year and were blamed for a rash of cruise ship illnesses more than a year ago that prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate several lines. In September, 84 passengers aboard a cruise ship from Alaska fell ill with a Norwalk-like virus.