Cruise ship norovirus outbreak suspected

June 24, 2008 at 12:22 PM
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska, June 24 (UPI) -- Alaska officials say they suspect it was an outbreak of norovirus that swept through a cruise ship and afflicted more than 100 passengers and crew.

An epidemiologist at the Alaska Division of Health told the Anchorage Daily News Tuesday while there were no official tests to confirm their suspicions, the symptoms were consistent with the nasty bug.

About 112 passengers and a dozen crew members aboard the Holland America liner Veendam became sick last week as the ship sailed among three Alaskan ports.

Norovirus is highly contagious and causes gastrointestinal symptoms for up to 48 hours.

Passengers told the newspaper that rumors of an outbreak of some kind began circulating among the 1,313 passengers just two days out of Vancouver. Those who became sick were told to stay in their cabins, and some said they were informed in writing that they would be quarantined in Seward once the Veendam reached port.

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