Norovirus strikes on cruise ship

29 January 2014 08:49

Passengers on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Explorer of the Seas, became violently ill (AP Photo/Thomas Layer)

Passengers on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Explorer of the Seas, became violently ill (AP Photo/Thomas Layer)

More than 300 people on board a cruise ship in the Caribbean have become violently ill.

A total of 281 passengers and 22 crew members on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Explorer of the Seas displayed symptoms of norovirus.

The sickness bug on board the ship, which has been forced to miss a scheduled visit to Haiti and dock in Puerto Rico, is a warning that illness can strike any time and a gentle reminder of the importance of medical travel insurance. If something goes wrong on such a trip cruise travel insurance policies will make it all plain sailing.

The ship, which set off from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on January 21, is now undergoing an extensive sanitising process.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman, Janet Diaz, said cleaning products designed to kill norovirus are being employed in the sanitisation of the ship.

Norovirus is extremely contagious and, in some extreme cases, can even be fatal. The stomach virus causes violent vomiting and diarrhoea.

Speaking to US news channel CNN, one of the cruise's passengers said: "I'll never come back again. Not on this cruise line. It's the most disorganised trip I've ever been on in my life and I'm also 80 years old. It's sad."

It is not the first time norovirus has struck on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Earlier this month, the Majesty of the Sea ended its four-day voyage early following an outbreak of the virus which caused 66 passengers to fall ill.

Sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus can affect people of all ages. There is no specific cure for norovirus, which simply has to run its course.

There are at least 25 different strains of norovirus known to affect humans. They're the most common cause of stomach bugs (gastroenteritis) in the UK.

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