Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Norovirus outbreak on Royal Caribbean cruise sickens 167 passengers

Norovirus outbreak on Royal Caribbean cruise sickens 167 passengers

Even after the Oasis of the Seas was essentially declared a quarantine vessel - the government of Jamaica forbade passengers from disembarking at Falmouth, where they had a day of excursions planned - a letter from the cruise company reveals that Royal Caribbean had initially planned on continuing the cruise as usual, as if the vomiting and diarrhea that accompany the ultra-contagious norovirus could be stopped with hand washing instructions and positive thinking.

While media reports state the cause of the outbreak as norovirus, CDC officials report the causative agent as being "unknown" as of January 10.

Oasis of the Seas is on a 7-night Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Passengers aboard the 18-deck vessel took to social media to talk about the illness and to report that guests were kept aboard the ship for hours after it docked at Falmouth port on the northern side of Jamaica.

Torres says returning a day early gives the cruise line "more time to completely clean and sanitise the ship" before it sails again.

"We think the right thing to do is to get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health", said Royal Caribbean spokesman Omar Torres.

Thomas shared a video on Twitter of crew members cleaning the ship.

"During this sailing, there has been a small percentage of guests onboard who have experienced gastrointestinal illness, thought to be norovirus".

The CDC is required publish data on the Outbreak Updates for International Cruise Ships portal maintained by the agency where 3% or more of passengers or crew report symptoms of gastrointestinal illness to the ship's medical staff.

Officials with Royal Caribbean reported that there 167 cases of a stomach virus on board the ship.

A user who goes by AstroDK wrote: "Oasis Of The Seas has level 3 outbreak of GI on-board". The Miami Herald is reporting that Oasis of the Seas will cut its current cruise short.

Although this outbreak may seem sensationally large, it is actually proportionate for a gastrointestinal infection on a cruise ship.

"People are still getting sick", he told ABC News. The figure has decreased since 2012, when a novel strain of norovirus emerged, causing a spike in the number of outbreaks.

"I'm still having a good time", he said.

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