The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Sunday that 172 passengers of a U.S.-based Princess Cruises ship touring the Pacific have been infected with Norovirus.
The ship in question, the "Crown Princess," had a similar outbreak in April, when over 150 passengers became infected. The vessel also had a Norovirus incident in December, 2012, when 102 passengers were infected.
Norovirus, which kills roughly 200,000 annually, is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans. The fatalities occur in mostly third-world countries, and children, the elderly and those who are immunosuppressed are at the highest risk.
Symptoms of Norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and at times loss of taste. The disease is spread through the fecal contamination of food and water, via person-to-person contact and can be aerosolized by way of vomiting and the flushing of toilets. Many norovirus outbreaks have been traced to food that was handled by one infected person.
Here is a clip concerning Norovirus:
While severe illness is uncommon in developed countries, an infected person will likely feel fairly sick for a few days. There is no specific treatment for Norovirus, though a patient should remain hydrated.
The CDC reported that 158 of the 3,009 passengers on the Crown Princess were infected, along with 14 of the 1,160 crew members. The ship is presently docked in Los Angeles and Princess Cruises is deep cleaning the vessel under the advisement of the CDC. A CDC employee will assess the progress Sunday.
The Crown Princess is a Grand-class cruise ship at 951 feet long, and can hold 3,080 passengers and 1,201 crew members. The ship presently travels the Caribbean for the Winter season, and Europe for the Summer season. Its godmother is Martha Stewart.
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The Crown Princess is scheduled to head to Mexico on November 29.