GALVESTON, Texas (KIAH) — A cruise ship docked in Galveston is under investigation after over 280 people were sickened on a recent voyage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The Ruby Princess, part of the Princess Cruises lines, reported 284 people, including 34 crew members, becoming ill on their voyage on Feb. 26 to March 5, the CDC reported. There were a total of 2,881 on board the ship, including 1,159 crew members.
The affected passengers and crew had symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, but do not know yet what agent caused it, the CDC said.
According to a statement from Princess Cruise Lines, there was a “a number of cases of mild gastrointestinal illness among passengers, the cause likely is the common but contagious virus called Norovirus.”
The CDC’s Vessel Santitation Program had officers conduct an investigation when the ship docked at Galveston on Sunday.
Princess Cruises and the crew said in response to the illnesses, the crew on the ship said they:
- Increased cleaning and disinfection procedures according to the ship’s outbreak prevention and response plan.
- Collected stool specimens from gastrointestinal illness cases to send to the CDC lab for pathogenic identification.
- Distributed notifications and made ship announcements to embarking guests informing them of increased number of illness cases onboard the previous voyage.
The ship underwent an additional disinfection on March 4 in Galveston ahead of its next departure. The ship is now on a seven-day western Caribbean cruise, returning to Galveston on March 12, Princess Cruise Lines said in a statement.
The CDC has tips for passengers to protect themselves from illness while on a cruise.