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U.S. officials probe illnesses on Caribbean cruise

More Than 300 Sick On Royal Caribbean Cruise

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - U.S. health officials will board a cruise ship docked in the U.S. Virgin Islands to investigate an illness outbreak that has stricken at least 300 people with gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea, a cruise company spokeswoman said Sunday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that 281, or nearly 10 percent, of the 3,050 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas have reported getting sick. Twenty-two 22 crew members also report feeling ill.

In a Sunday morning statement, company spokeswoman Janet Diaz said CDC officials are expected to soon board the towering, 15-deck ship making a port call in St. Thomas, the main island of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

At least two CDC officials - an epidemiologist and an environmental health officer - are expected to do an investigation and evaluate the outbreak response on the cruise liner. The U.S. health agency did not immediately respond to a Sunday email and a call seeking comment about the work aboard the ship.

During the previous port call in Puerto Rico, the ship underwent "extensive and thorough sanitizing" to help prevent more people from getting sick, said the spokeswoman. It bypassed a scheduled stop to the company's fenced-in beach destination in northern Haiti to sail directly to Puerto Rico's capital.

"This was a difficult decision to make; however, we feel it is best to make this itinerary medication to help prevent any more guests from becoming ill," Diaz said.

Meanwhile, the passengers and crew who fell ill have "responded well to over-the-counter medication being administered onboard the ship," she said.

Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting and diarrhea, which is what the cruise ship passengers have reported. It spreads quickly in close quarters and is known for afflicting schools and cruise ships. Diaz said special cleaning products and disinfectants that are proven to kill norovirus are being used to clean the Explorer of the Seas.

In a Sunday statement, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, the U.S. Virgin Islands' tourism commissioner, said the territory was grateful for the "CDC's quick response" and St. Thomas was ready to welcome ship passengers cleared to disembark.

On Friday, an Explorer of the Seas passenger named Arnee Dodd tweeted that she had fallen ill aboard the ship and was quarantined with the other sick people. The Connecticut woman wrote that ship employees "put a lock down on food & are constantly cleaning everything."

It was not immediately clear how many passengers, if any, were still being quarantined on Sunday.

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gloservant77 January 28 2014 at 2:24 PM

what e people dont realize is just because they say it is a virus does not mean the government isn't behind people trying to get every one afraid to travel for their world order. diverticulur or diverticulitis also causes pain, the same symptoms so does parasites. lets face it most all vruses originated from government & science when they decide they way the economy couldn't handle the population & used tactics to kill off so many people a year with diseases sickness & viruses not to mention their wars all because the have a controlling spirit & one person wants to run the world .. just like this flu shot all the people that especially the younger generations are taught to believe the flu shot keeps you from getting the flu but quite the contrary the flu shot is the virus & actually gives you the flu though they used to say it helps you from getting it worse but the bottom line if no one took the shot then would most likely be no one even get flu unless the people in the government plant the germs rom the virus or the virus itself on something to get you sick.. I never got the flu even as a child growing up until I was around some one else my parents or others that actually got the flu shot & then they got the flu from the shot & passed it to us.. if you are not out among people that get the flu shot the flu would not be spread to it.. it's just like the way they did with the water. they shut down good water wells & springs to make profits to have control to force you to get their city water EVEN way back then was all a part of control & their world order not to mention the profits they could make by having you pay their water lines to run & sewer lines then pay them monthly for the use of it.. the good water GOD GAVE US FREE THEY TOOK MIXED WITH SEWER WATER, RIVER WATER, ETC., THEN ADDED CHEMICALS TO IT SAY IT IS TREATED BUT BY THEIR GUIDELINES BACK THEN that is full of parasites diseases & sickness & chemicals that actually cause people to get cancers prostrate diseases ,cysts. but people go to their mans schools controlled by the government & teach the same WHAT THE WANT YOU TO BELEIVE OR T THINK THE WAY THEY WANT YOU TOT THINK THEIR SYSTEM FOR THEIR WORLD ORDER THEIR WAY.. to each generation making them believe that good water pure that YHWH GOD made wasn't good or safe unless they add all their poisons to it like they do with the waste water plant but they are the ones contaminating you with the water. Your well or springs was safe & healthier but because of the of lies that were told way back then EVERY GENERATION DOES THE SAME AS WHAT THE OTHER TAUGHT THEM TO DO OR BELIEVE.. SAME AS THE ANIMALS THEY POLUTE & THE FOD THEY WANTED TO CONTROL WHAT THE FARMS MADE OR GROWED WAS GOOD CROPS HEALTHY WITHOUT ALL THE CHEMICALS, HORMONES, POISONS BUT GOVENRMENT WANTED TO MANDATE EVERYTHING THINKING THEY CAN DO BETTER THAN GOD BT THE REAL PLOT BEHIND IT WAS TO KILL OFF SO MANY PEOPLE A YEAR THEY SAID THE ECONOMY COULDN'T HANDLE THE POPULATION

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gloservant77 January 28 2014 at 2:10 PM

PEOPLE ARE IGNORANT TO THINK THAT GOD DOESN'T EXIST WHEN EVEN SATAN FEARS & TREMBLES UNDER THE ONE TRUE GOD.. SO YOU MIGHT CALL YOUR SELF ATHEIST BUT IF YOUR NOT OF GOD THEN YOU'RE OF SATAN & BEING EVEN SATAN KNOWS GOD IS REAL THEN HOW CAN SEE NOT. YES GOD DID HAVE A PART IN THIS..IT WAS LOVE THAT HELPED THEM KNOW WHICH DOG TO ADOPT & GOD IS LOVE & LOVE COMETH FROM GOD. GOD IS LOVE SO YES IT WAS GOD.. EVEN SATAN BELIEVES YHWH GOD & EVEN HE CANT DO WHAT GOD YHWH DON'T LET HIM DO. THERE IS NO WAY ANY WAY CAN TRULY SAY THAT THEY DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD.. THE MERE BREATH YOU BREATHE COMETH FROM THE FATHER GOD CREATOR YHWH.. & TO THE OTHERS THAT THINK THIS ADOPTION WASN'T ABOUT GOD WOE UNTO YOU FOR YOUR IGNORANCE BUT DON'T TRY TO MAKE OTHERS JUST AS BLIND OR IGNORANT AS YOU. SATAN CAN'T CONTROL YOU IF YOU DON'T LET HIM. HE SITS BACK & laughs AT YOUR IGNORANCE WHILE YOU ARE HEADING FOR THE LAKE OF FIRE & BRIMIMSTONE & GOD WAITS FOR YOU TO WAKE UP & SEE & BELEIVE IN GOD SO YOU TO CAN HAVE A CHANCE TO BE SAVED.. YHWH GOD WINKS AT YOUR IGNORANCE & LOOKS BEYOND YOUR FAULTS TO SEE YOUR NEED. YHWH GOD IS FORGIVING FOR HE KNOWS YOU JUST DON'T KNOW.BUT ONCE GOD SHUTS THE DOOR IT IS TOO LATE.. BUT TO THINK GOD HAS HAD NO PART IN THIS IS RIDICULOUS FOR GOD IS LOVE & WITHOUT LOVE NO ONE COULD REACH OUT TO ADOPT OR LOVE ANOTHER EVEN THE ANIMALS & EVEN GOD KNOWS HIS ANIMALS & THEIR HURT THEIR PAIN & EVEN CARES FOR ALL & GOD TAKES CARE OF ALL THINGS, HE ALSO KNEW THE SISTERS THE ONE THE DOG FOLLOWED WITH THE CANE HER HURT & PAIN NOT JUST PHYSICAL BUT FROM WITHIN THE INNER MOST BEING & GOD RESPONDED BY USING THE DOG TO SHOW HER LOVE & AS WELL AS USING THE NUNS TO REACH OUT FOR THIS PARTICULAR PET WHEN GOD MINISTERED THROUGH THE NUN WHICH DOG TO TAKE..THAT DOG WENT THROUGH A LOT ALSO. SO MANY LOOSE THEIR OWNERS THROUGH DEATH, OR SICKNESS, SOME RENT HAVE TO MOVE & ABANDON THEM OR HAVE TO LEAVE THEM AT A SHELTER. SOME JUST CAN'T AFFOR D THEM EITHER WAY THE ANIMALS ARE SOMETIMES SMATER THAN HUMANS & GOD DOES MAKE THEM SMART & THEY DO UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU TALK TO THEM WHEN GOD USES YOU & THEM TO COMMMUNICATE THROUGH GOD HIMSELF.

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jasminejohnson42 January 27 2014 at 1:22 PM

There is sh*t in the meat -- GO VEGAN!

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Valerie January 27 2014 at 7:53 AM

The Norovirus can live on handrails, door handles, etc. for days.....and stay away from food buffets....people handle the food, cough on the food.....problem is, it is NOT just cruise ships that carry it. Anywhere you have people in close quarters (like on the subway or in an elevator) can get it easily. For some reason, kids DO carry it from being in classrooms and then onto a cruise ship. Just carry hand sanitizer, watch what you eat, stay away from crowded situations. It is a nasty virus....but it is everywhere! They DO have medication that melts on your tongue to stop vomiting.....my son used it and it works great.

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STAN January 27 2014 at 7:53 AM

I've been on about 14 cruises (6 cruise lines) in the past 5 years and (I know I'm jinxing myself by saying this) haven't been personally affected by this problem, nor was I aware of any other passengers I cruised with so affected. I believe part of the problem is that because most, if not all of the ships resail within 10 hours of their arrival, not enough time is given to really clean and disinfect them. A law preventing ships from resailing anywhere from 24 to 30 hours after a cruise ends to maximize the cleaning/disinfection process would be a government regulation I can live with.

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timesharejoe January 27 2014 at 7:42 AM

If you compare the amount of people that contracted a flu virus on an airplane ride, or kids that picked it up in school or in a daycare, you'd see that cruises are being singled out by the media unfairly. That said, I think it is good that the media does keep an eye on the travel industry in general, so they are mindful of their obligation to provide a healthy atmosphere and a safe trip, regardless of what form of travel they provide.

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Dan January 27 2014 at 7:21 AM

I've been on several RCCL cruises and there was never such a problem. Hopefully the cause of this will be determined ASAP & measures will be taken to prevent its spread on future cruises. RCCL always strives to excel. ☺

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PACRIMCO January 27 2014 at 7:20 AM

Modern day cruise ships are floating Petri dishes. Viruses love lotsa people confined together in close quarters for extended perods of time. Don't be surprised when the snake bites you. It's after all, just a snake and snakes bite people.

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Dianne January 27 2014 at 7:14 AM

I live in Connecticut and just got over this virus after a week and a half. It's horrendous. The only public place I was in, within the time frame of exposure, was the movie theater.

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Diane January 27 2014 at 7:06 AM

it gets through the A/C system-they should check that angle =

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