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Cruise Ship Docks in Sydney With More Than 180 Passengers Suffering GASTRO

Over 180 guests and crew have been struck with the gastrointestinal illness norovirus on the liner Explorer of the Seas, part of Royal Caribbean’s “Voyager” fleet, which docked at Circular Quay in Sydney on Wednesday morning.

The Explorer of the Seas arrived from New Zealand about 6am with 3,566 passengers and 1,139 crew on a 14-night trip. Royal Caribbean confirmed 182 cases of “an increased level of gastrointestinal illness” on board.
“Those affected by the short-lived illness have responded well to over-the-counter medication administered onboard the ship,” the statement issued on Wednesday said.

Paramedics were on standby as passengers and crew disembarked, but a spokesman for the South Eastern Sydney local health district said the outbreak was under control. No patient had to be removed from the ship prematurely, or taken to hospital.
With new passengers due to board before it left port on Wednesday evening, the ship and terminal would be sanitised to prevent any spread of the illness.
All new guests would receive a letter at boarding asking them to advise if they had experienced any gastrointestinal symptoms within the past three days, Royal Caribbean said.
With more than 3% of the ship’s passengers struck down with the stomach bug, it is a legal obligation that health authorities be alerted.
The outbreak started on 5 December and peaked on 11 and 12 December, but subsequently subsided, NSW health authorities said.
According to the South Eastern Sydney public health unit’s cruise ship health surveillance program, 242 cruise ships have arrived in Sydney this year, but this is only the fourth outbreak of acute gastroenteritis to trigger the 3% threshold.
As many as 300m people worldwide are affected by norovirus each year.
WebMD describes the illness as swift but debilitating, with nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, stomach cramps and “feeling absolutely miserable” among typical symptoms.
“Nothing can ruin a vacation like a bout of vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Noroviruses have become notorious for sending hundreds of cruise ship passengers at a time running for their respective bathrooms and for steering entire ships back to port early,” it says
The cruising website Cruise Critic says norovirus “is “not a ‘cruise ship’ virus, nor does it limit itself to sea-going vessels”, but it is highly contagious.
Outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships are reported frequently.
In May, passengers hit by a vomiting bug on a Norweigan Fjords cruise said they would never go on a cruise again “even if they paid us”. The Daily Mail reported that one couple were able to eat only “a slice of toast and some water biscuits” after returning home.


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