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Over 200 Caribbean cruise ship passengers take ill

Written by: Staff

MIAMI, Mar 5 (Reuters) More than 200 passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship and several crew members took ill with a stomach virus during a weeklong cruise, the Miami-based company said yesterday.

Royal Caribbean International said 243 of 3,252 passengers on board the Explorer of the Seas had caught a norovirus, a common cause of infectious gastroenteritis prevalent in hospitals, nursing homes, cruise ships and other semi-enclosed environments. All those affected were treated.

Nineteen of the 1,184 crew members also took ill during the voyage, which made stops in Belize, Mexico's Yucatan and the Cayman Islands.

The vessel was due back in Miami today.

Royal Caribbean said it believed a passenger brought the virus on board.

Noroviruses are thought to affect an estimated 300 million people around the world every year, the cruise line noted.

Reuters PG VP1006

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