Suspected outbreak of winter vomiting virus on luxury liner leaves 400 ill, say US health authorities


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The Independent Online

The number of passengers taken ill in suspected norovirus outbreaks on two luxury cruise liners has reached 400, US health authorities have said.

Passengers and crew on the Queen Mary 2 and on the Emerald Princess have been struck down by an illness which the US’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention believes to be the winter vomiting bug.

According to the CDC, on the Queen Mary 2, which is owned by Cunard and is currently cruising in the Caribbean, 194 passengers and 11 crew members of the 3,800 people on board have been reported ill. And, on the Emerald Princess – which is owned by Princess Cruises - 189 passengers and 31 crew members of the 4,400 on board are sick.

Lab tests are underway to confirm that it is norovirus, of which there have been more than 3,500 confirmed cases in England and Wales, which has hit the ships. Reports say that the “predominant symptoms” shown in those taken ill have been vomiting and diarrhoea.

The Queen Mary 2 is undergoing extra cleaning before it is due to arrive in Southampton on 10 January. The liner left New York on December 22 for a 10-day cruise. “The safety and comfort of passengers and crew is always our number one priority," a Cunard spokesman said.