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Hundreds struck down with vomiting illness on British cruise ship

316 guests and crew members have contracted the tummy bug since the ship set sail from the UK on 16 April.

Image: Hyunsoo Leo Kim/AP

HUNDREDS OF PASSENGERS on board a British cruise ship have been struck down with vomiting illness since it set sail on a five-week cruise last month.

So far, 316 guests and crew members have caught a “highly contagious” gastric bug on board the Balmoral cruise ship, which set sail from Southampton in the UK on 16 April, a spokeswoman for the cruise operator, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, told TheJournal.ie.

Sixteen people are currently struck down with the bug on board the Balmoral, with symptoms including nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, the spokeswoman said.

Thousands on board

There are 1,434 guests and crew on board the Balmoral, which is on a 34-night ‘Old England to New England’ cruise. It recently left the US and is due to arrive in New Brunswick, Canada, later today.

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Most of the passengers on board are British.

In a statement, Fred Olsen said the cruise was continuing as planned and the ship had not been quarantined in any port on this cruise.

It is believed that the highly-contagious gastric illness was brought onto the ship, and is spread by person-to-person – or surface-to-surface – contact.
Fred Olsen has been undertaking extensive sanitisation measures and cleaning of the ship, following the company’s strict illness containment and prevention plan.

Those affected have been asked to remain in their cabins and have been provided with complimentary room service and in-room entertainment.

Investigations are continuing to ascertain whether the bug is Norovirus, the spokeswoman said.

Norovirus

Last year, Fred Olsen was forced to cancel a cruise after an outbreak of Norovirus – also known as the winter vomiting bug – on board the same ship.

The operator said the Balmoral received a US public health score of 91% after undergoing inspections by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ‎(CDC) and the US Coastguard.

“Fred Olsen’s cruise ships meet, at all times, the highest safety, hygiene and health standards, and comply fully with the strict requirements and inspections of their Flag State, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and other relevant authorities,” the statement said.

Fred Olsen is co-operating fully with all the necessary maritime agencies and authorities and will continue to make e‎very effort
possible to ensure the safety and well-being of all its guests and crew on board, which is of paramount ‎importance.

Read: These five mega cruise ships are set to visit Ireland

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