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Norwegian Joy passengers fall ill with possible norovirus; at least 4 taken to hospital

Shawn M. Carter

Passengers who fell ill on a recent Norwegian cruise were possibly infected with norovirus, according to multiple reports.

The Norwegian Joy, which left Miami Nov. 8 and arrived in the Port of Los Angeles on Sunday, reported travelers with a stomach bug, including four who were later hospitalized.

The Los Angeles Fire Department assessed six passengers who sought attention for an “unspecified and apparently non-life threatening illness” after the trip, according to an alert from department spokesman Brian Humphrey posted on the LAFD’s website.

“The safety, security and well-being of our guests and crew is our number one priority," a spokesperson for the company told FOX Business. "We operate at the very highest public health standards. During Norwegian Joy’s Panama Canal sailing, a few guests onboard experienced a stomach-related illness. To mitigate any impact of this rare occurrence, we implemented stringent sanitation procedures. We will continue to monitor this situation."

While Norwegian did not confirm whether the illness was, in fact, a norovirus, this is not the first time a virus of this nature has infected cruise passengers.

In January, hundreds of passengers fell ill from a norovirus on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. Last year, more than 500 passengers were treated for gastrointestinal illness on a cruise out of Port Canaveral, Florida. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted 10 outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness on cruise ships in 2018.

And overall, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus affects about 19 to 21 million Americans each year.

Passenger Judy Lukos told CBS Los Angeles that crewmembers on the Norwegian Joy took appropriate actions after the incident: “They announced there were a lot of people sick and a lot of things were restricted,” she said. Travelers were told to sanitize their hands and not to serve themselves food.

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Ken Fagut, another passenger, told USA Today the crew was “absolutely diligent” about getting people to sanitize their hands, but said, “it is impossible to ensure everyone follows this common-sense protocol.” Crew members “described all the steps that they had taken once the virus was identified, but this is a virulent virus, and once on board in a contained setting can pass rapidly to passengers.”

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Norwegian Joy Cruises run above $1,000 per trip.

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