Number of guests and crew infected during gastrointestinal outbreak on Ruby Princess rises above 300: ‘Norovirus the likely cause’

Number of guests and crew infected during gastrointestinal outbreak on Ruby Princess rises above 300: 'Norovirus the likely cause'
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The number of people who contracted gastrointestinal diseases on board Ruby Princess rose to over 300 after the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC).

We previously reported that the CDC originally stated that at least two hundred and nineteen passengers and crew aboard the Princess Cruises ship became ill and experienced vomiting and diarrhea. Ruby Princess, which docked in Galveston, Texas. At the time, the CDC reported that 199 of 2,881 (6.61%) passengers and 20 of 1,159 (1.73%) crew members were on sick leave.

The CDC now states that 284 out of 2881 passengers (9.9%) and 34 out of 1159 crew members (2.9%) were infected with the disease.

Princess Cruises, in a statement shared via email WBTW News 13said it thought the “probable” culprit was norovirus, which can cause acute gastroenteritis.

We have been contacted by many guests who were on the cruise that the number of infected is actually higher than the official number.

A guest commented:

“Many on the ship did not report or see a doctor. Count is much higher. People are not sure if they will be charged for a doctor’s visit, they get sick and just can’t leave the room, take medicines bought on shore. . . So you don’t want to stand in line to see a doctor. I was sick on the ship and didn’t report. All you want to do is stay in the room and sleep. It’s hard to stay hydrated etc.”

Another passenger said:

“I was on that ship. Many more passengers were sick. There were three of us in our group and when we called to report everyone they only took the report on me. A lot of people didn’t come forward so they wouldn’t be isolated.”

Another said:

“Agreed . . . Out of our party of 7, 4 of us got it and it was awful.

CBS News reports that the Ruby Princess has since embarked new passengers on a new voyage. The final group of passengers, currently on another seven-day Caribbean cruise, have been informed of the increased levels of illness on the previous voyage. (Of course it was too late to cancel or reschedule the cruise).

The CDC still hasn’t determined the “causal factor” for the outbreak. According to the CDC and FDA is the most likely cause of GI outbreaks on cruise ships contaminated water or food.

We recommend reading Norovirus Nightmare: Cruise Industry Plays the “Blame-the-Passenger” Game.

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Photo credit: Ruby Princess – KHOU-13 video screengrab “CDC: More than 300 people called in sick during the cruise in Galveston.”

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