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Vision of the Seas passengers fall ill with stomach virus during 11-day cruise

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At least 105 people fell ill with a stomach virus on an 11-day Royal Caribbean International cruise ship that returned to South Florida Friday.

The cruise line reported that 105 of nearly 2,000 passengers were sickened with possible Norovirus, as well as 3 of 772 crew members.

The ship captain announced the outbreak shortly after Vision of the Seas vessel departed.

Dozens of passengers experiencing the symptoms were quarantined.

The outbreak is the second time in a month that a luxury cruise has gone awry.

Last month, thousands of passengers spent nearly five days on a disabled cruise ship operated by Carnival Corp in the Gulf of Mexico.

At least 105 people fell ill with a stomach virus on an 11-day Royal Caribbean International cruise ship that returned to South Florida Friday

At least 105 people fell ill with a stomach virus on an 11-day Royal Caribbean International cruise ship that returned to South Florida Friday

Carnival’s Triumph was returning to Galveston, Texas from Cozumel, Mexico, on the third day of a four-day cruise when an engine-room fire knocked out power and plumbing across most of the ship

Norovirus is highly contagious and causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. The disease typically lasts only a few days but can be prolonged without proper hydration.

It is easily spread through infected people by direct contact with food, water or any type of surface such as a railing or doorknob.

The cruise line said in a statement that crew members conducted enhanced cleaning to help prevent the spread of the illness. After returning to port, crew members aboard the Vision of the Seas conducted an extensive and thorough sanitizing on board the ship and within the cruise terminal to help prevent future illness, according to the statement.

Norovirus outbreaks are fairly frequent on cruise ships. In December, some 194 passengers and 11 crew members aboard the luxury cruise ship Queen Mary 2 were sickened and suffered from vomiting and diarrhea.

In 2012, including the Queen Mary 2 incident, a total of 16 outbreaks on cruise ships were reported to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, up from 14 in 2011. Vessels are required to notify the agency when 2% of those on board develop a gastrointestinal illness.

The 915-foot-long Vision of the Seas can accommodate 2,416 guests and 742 crew members. The vessel was ending an 11-night Caribbean cruise that left Port Everglades on February 25. Its previous port of call was Aruba on March 5.

The ship and the cruise terminal have been thoroughly sanitized and Vision of the Seas will depart later on Friday as scheduled, the company said.

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