WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The number of people who suffered from a gastrointestinal illness aboard a Royal Caribbean International Oasis of the Seas has climbed to nearly 500.
- On Thursday, the company reported that 277 passengers on the cruise ship had initially fallen ill with the number increased to 475 people on Friday’s report.
- The outbreak is most likely norovirus, which according to the CDC is “very contagious” with symptoms that include stomach pains, nausea and diarrhea.
The number of passengers and crew members hit by a norovirus outbreak on a Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas has swelled to almost 500, a company spokeswoman said Friday, as the ship continues its return to Port Canaveral.
The cruise ship changed course Thursday after 277 people were reported having contracted norovirus — a gastrointestinal illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea.
The Oasis of the Seas is on a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise but had to cut the trip short by a day. Passengers didn’t disembark on their second port of call, Falmouth, Jamaica, and will skip a planned stop in Cozumel, Mexico, wrote NBC News.
An announcement was made that the number of people affected had risen. By Friday afternoon, all passengers were notified that the 6,285-passenger ship will return to Port Canaveral on Saturday.
“You might have noticed that we are everywhere in the media when it comes to our outbreak here, which is most likely norovirus,” the announcement read.
To stop the spread of the illness, nearly 100 people who are still showing symptoms of norovirus are quarantined in their cabins.
Twenty-two-year-old Erica Sattler from New York, who went to a cruise to celebrate her mom’s birthday, said she and her family agree with the company’s decision to cut the trip short.
“With so many sick people I don’t think that anyone objected to us heading straight back,” Sattler said. “We just hope that everyone gets better soon and that nobody else gets sick.”
She added that the crew has been working “tirelessly” to clean and disinfect surfaces. For the inconvenience, Royal Caribbean is giving all passengers a full refund.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, cruise ships are required to report outbreaks of norovirus to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when the number of passengers affected surpasses 2 percent of the total passenger count.
The CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program reports incidents on its website when the outbreaks involve over 3 percent of the passengers and crew onboard.
Source: Orlando Sentinel