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19 November 2014 09:57
The Crown Princess Cruise Liner when it visited Belfast
A Princess Cruises ship on a month-long trip around Hawaii and Tahiti has been hit with norovirus - leaving more than 170 people suffering from the stomach sickness.
The Crown Princess has now returned to San Pedro - the port city of Los Angeles - where it was met by health officials from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). News of the outbreak offers a timely reminder of the importance of medical travel insurance.
A total of 145 passengers and 14 crew have reported falling ill since the ship sailed last month, according to the CDC website.
Further tests confirmed they had norovirus, which is also known as winter vomiting disease - a gastrointestinal illness which causes diarrhoea and sickness.
It is the second occasion in the past 12 months the Crown Princess has experienced a norovirus outbreak, with 150 people falling ill on board in April.
"Over the last few days, the ship began seeing an increased number of norovirus cases," the company said in a statement.
The operator added that it had begun "enacting stringent disinfecting protocols". These included an "extensive deep cleaning" in Los Angeles on Sunday before the ship embarks on its next voyage.
Norovirus fact box
Symptoms of gastrointestinal illness include vomiting and diarrhoea
Called winter vomiting bug as this is the most common time of year for an outbreak
The illness usually lasts for up to 3 days - contact your GP is symptoms extend further
Sufferers must drink plenty of water - complications can arise as a result of dehydration
Find out more about norovirus.
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