San Francisco

135 Passengers Contracted Norovirus on San Francisco Cruise Ship

A cruise ship that went to Hawaii returned to San Francisco Thursday carrying 135 passengers who tested positive for norovirus over the last two weeks, says the CDC.

The Star Princess Cruise ship with 3,000 people on board left from San Francisco on April 29.  The CDC reported that about 5 percent of the passengers and 1.4 percent of the crew members contracted the norovirus, which gives people diarrhea and causes them to throw up.

Within the first few days of the cruise, a growing number of people on board became sick with gastrointestinal issues, according to the CDC, which was later deemed norovirus.

Pat and Linda McKenzie of Fairfield both contracted the virus during the cruise, which put a damper on their plans to see Kauai. And like others, they were quarantined. They were also impressed that the cruise saff cleaned the ship thoroughly to combat the virus. And they didn't seem to be bothered by the setback much, when they got off the ship Thursday at San Francisco's Embarcadero.

"They came in and sanitized the room and washed the walls," he said.

When the ship docked in Maui on May 7, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention verified that passengers on board did in fact have norovirus. NBC affiliate Hawaii News Now reported that the norovirus outbreak began before the ship arrived in Hawaii.

Pasenger Choy Young of Walnut Creek said that he had been informed recently by the captain that only four passengers were still infected with the norovirus.

After the ship docked Thursday in San Francisco, two environmental health officers and two public health officers arrived to assess the ship and evaluate the response to the outbreak

McKenzie thinks Princess Cruise staff handled the virus well.

"They controlled it, I really think they did a great job," he said. In spite of the norovirus outbreak, the McKenzies managed to have such a good time on the cruise that they have already booked another cruise trip.

According to the CDC website, norovirus causes up to 21 million illnesses and up to 800 deaths each year. The CDC says this San Francisco to Hawaii cruise is the ninth cruise to have a gastrointestinal illness outbreak this year.

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