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Dozens of cruise ship passengers fall sick

By Associated Press
Published November 30, 2003

FORT LAUDERDALE - More than six dozen passengers aboard a Carnival Cruise Lines ship returned to port Saturday complaining of a stomach illness after an eight-day cruise.

Seventy-three of 2,378 passengers were reported sick aboard the Legend, which returned to Port Everglades Saturday after the southern Caribbean trip. Four of 913 crew members were reported sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"While unconfirmed, the incidences of GI distress being reported are believed to be the result of a Norovirus, which is a highly contagious illness easily transmitted person-to-person," Carnival said in a written statement.

Norovirus is among the most common stomach ailments, infecting 23-million every year. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, lasting one to three days. The bug is spread through poor sanitation and can be prevented by regular hand-washing with soap.

The CDC and Carnival said the ship followed standard precautions, such as cleaning public areas and rooms with bleach, confining sick passengers, and serving food via crew instead of self-serve.

David Forney, chief of vessel sanitation for CDC, said his staff inspected the ship at Port Everglades before the cruise departed on Nov. 21, and said he had been told some passengers were sick as they came aboard.

[Last modified November 30, 2003, 01:16:37]

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