86 People Sick on Cruise Ship, Likely With Norovirus

The Ruby Princess is due to return to Port Everglades Sunday

Friday, Feb 3, 2012  |  Updated 10:55 PM EDT
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86 People Sick on Cruise Ship, Likely With Norovirus

NBC Local Media

An up-close view of Norovirus.

A total of 86 people have been sickened with a gastrointestinal illness that is likely Norovirus on board a cruise ship headed home to Port Everglades, Princess Cruises said Friday.

Seventy-eight passengers, or 2.49 percent of the 3,133 on board, and eight crew members of the 1,186 on the Ruby Princess have been affected by the bug, Princess Cruises spokeswoman Karen Candy said in a statement.

She said the ship immediately put in place “additional enhanced sanitation procedures” at the first sign of the outbreak, including thorough disinfection of frequently touched surfaces like railings and door handles, isolating sick passengers in their cabins until they are no longer contagious, and encouraging guests to use their own bathrooms.

The Ruby Princess is on a seven-day Caribbean cruise that will end where it began, in Fort Lauderdale, on Sunday morning.

Extra cleaning crew members will be brought aboard to do a comprehensive cleaning of the Ruby Princess’s public areas and passengers cabins during its turnaround Sunday, delaying the embarkation of the next round of passengers until 2 p.m. that afternoon, Candy said.

Norovirus’ symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping, and the illness usually lasts one to two days, the CDC says.

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