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Caribbean Princess cruise ship hit by norovirus as 173 take ill

- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2014

Princess Cruises' Caribbean Princess crew members have reported that more than 170 aboard have taken ill just a few days after the Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas was forced to return home with almost 700 sick passengers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was sending health officials aboard the Princess in Houston to look into a sudden outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that has resulted in widespread complaints of vomiting and diarrhea, CNN reported. At least 162 passengers and 11 crew members have complained of the ailment.

CDC said last week's sickening of 700 aboard the Explorer of the Seas was the highest number of reported cruise ship ailments the agency has ever received. Nearly 21 percent of the travelers on that ship were ill; by comparison, just over 5 percent of the Princess passengers have taken sick. The Explorer of the Seas was actually forced to end its sail two days early, due to the massive outbreak.

Health officials have already determined that the Princess passengers are suffering from a norovirus, said ship spokeswoman Julie Benson, in CNN. Noroviruses, marked by vomiting and diarrhea, are easily spread. That same virus is suspected of causing the trouble on Explorer of the Seas, but it's not yet been confirmed.

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