More than 300 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise fell ill with a nasty gastrointestinal sickness that included bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. The Independence of the Seas, which had visited Haiti and Jamaica, returned to Port Everglades, Florida, on Saturday.
This was the second time in less than a month that guests had become sick on one of Royal Caribbean’s ships, according to USA Today. About 200 passengers took ill earlier this month on a Royal Caribbean cruise between Singapore and Australia. Five of those passengers required hospital treatment, NBC News reported.
Royal Caribbean said in statements to media outlets that 332 of the 5,547 passengers and crew became ill. Passengers who spoke with local news outlet WPLG indicated that the number could be higher, since not every sick person went to the ship’s medical center for treatment.
Medical staff gave ill passengers over-the-counter medicine to treat the stomach illness.
According to the Mayo Clinic, norovirus is commonly spread through food or water that is contaminated during preparation or contaminated surfaces. It can also infect others through close contact. Within 24 hours of exposure, sufferers will typically experience diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting. While most people recover completely without treatment, infants, older adults and people with an underlying disease may require medical attention.
It’s not uncommon for gastrointestinal illnesses, like the norovirus, to spread on cruise ships when lots of people are in close contact with one another. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Infection confirmed that 700 passengers and crew on a Royal Caribbean ship became ill due to the norovirus, making it one of the largest outbreaks of its kind in 20 years.