Passengers on Princess Cruises ship from Texas shore become sick

Pictured is the Ruby Princess cruise ship as she begins her departure from Port Kembla on April 2020 in Wollongong, Australia.

Pictured is the Ruby Princess cruise ship as she begins her departure from Port Kembla on April 2020 in Wollongong, Australia.

James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Hundreds of passengers aboard a cruise ship that left Texas shores reported being hit with a mystery illness and being affected with similar symptoms late last month. There were 284 out of 2881 passengers aboard a Princess Cruises ship that reported abdominal cramps and diarrhea, according to a CDC Vessel Sanitation Report released Tuesday, March 7

The Ruby Princess departed on February 26. The CDC reports that 34 crew members also felt sick. The report says that the crew increased cleaning and disinfection procedures and collected stool samples from people who reported the stomach illness. The crew also distributed notifications and made announcements on the ship. 

A Princess Cruises spokesperson told CBS News that crews also advised sick passengers to isolate themselves in their rooms.

CDC staff boarded the cruise ship when it docked in Galveston on Sunday, March 5 to collect samples but have yet to identify the illness. The company also told CBS News that they believe it was an outbreak of the norovirus, which is known to cause gastrointestinal illness. 

In January 2019, the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas returned to Florida after a similar norovirus outbreak where 277 passengers fell ill. The Ruby Princess was also involved in a COVID-19 outbreak in August 2020 when it docked in Australia when it reported illnesses aboard the ship. About 900 people aboard the ship tested positive for COVID-19 and 28 died.

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