Cruise ship with norovirus outbreak returns to Texas

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by DREW KAREDES

KHOU

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 31 at 5:49 PM

PASADENA, Texas — The Caribbean Princess returned to Bayport Cruise Terminal Thursday night after an outbreak of norovirus ruined the trip for dozens of passengers.

Over the course of the cruise, 165 passengers reported ill to the medical center. The company said approximately five passengers have current active symptoms of norovirus.

Norovirus is a highly contagious illness that can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

"The announcement that was made Tuesday night was if you're sick don't come to the infirmary," said passenger Murray Sharkey.

Princess has notified the CDC, who will board Friday to oversee an “extensive sanitation of the ship” prior to the next cruise departing February 1.  

Earlier on Thursday, the cruise released a statement saying it was returning early due to fog in the weather forecast, but didn’t mention the norovirus.

It later confirmed that passengers were ill:

“Caribbean Princess returning early has experienced an increase in the number of cases of gastroenteritis among passengers, which has been confirmed to be norovirus, a common but contagious illness which is widely circulating throughout North America. Because of the increased sensitivity surrounding norovirus by both cruise lines and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in this winter season, we notified the CDC who will be boarding on Friday to ensure all appropriate measures are followed for an extensive sanitation of the ship prior to the next cruise departing February 1.”

A total of 3,104 passengers and 1,149 crew members are on board the cruise.

The seven-day cruise departed for the western Caribbean on January 25. They were forced to cancel a visit to Belize.

Another cruise line returned to New Jersey Thursday after 700 passengers and crew became ill.

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