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The CDC Says Royal Caribbean Illness Is New Strain of Norovirus

Feb 07, 2014 6:00 am

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As cruise ships become more sophisticated, so do the viruses that prey on the vessels.

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Thomas Layer  / Associated Press

Passengers from a motorcycle cruises' tour group, prepare to board the Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas, docked at Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands. Thomas Layer / Associated Press


A new strain of stomach bug was the virus responsible for almost 700 recent illnesses on a Caribbean cruise ship.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said by the new Sydney strain of norovirus was the cause of the illnesses on board Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas.

The ship, carrying 3,050 passengers, docked in New Jersey last week after 630 passengers and 54 crew members grew ill during a Caribbean cruise. It was one of the largest norovirus outbreaks on a cruise ship in the last 20 years.

The Sydney strain emerged within about the last two years. It’s not considered unusually dangerous, but has quickly become a common cause of cases of vomiting and diarrhea that last a few days.

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