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More than 500 passengers were sickened in two Royal Caribbean foodborne illness outbreaks in the past month, news sources are reporting. Five people were hospitalized in one outbreak.
After the Miami-based cruise line’s Independence of the Seas left port Dec. 11 from Port Everglades, FL, 332 of the 5,547 passengers became sick with a gastrointestinal illness, a Royal Caribbean International spokesperson told NBC News.
That outbreak came just weeks after 209 of the 5,796 people aboard Ovation of the Seas were sickened. Five of those people were hospitalized.
The Ovation of the Seas made port in Sydney, Australia, on Dec. 7 at the end of a 14-night cruise. The ship had departed from Singapore on Nov. 23.
No details were provided on the type of gastrointestinal illnesses for either outbreak, and the conditions of those hospitalized were not given.
The husband of one Ovation of the Seas passenger who was hospitalized said his wife became ill after eating “undercooked chicken.”
“Her condition continued to worsen, and I thought she was going to die in front of me,” said the man, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. He said she was recovering in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Hobart, capital of the Australian state of Tasmania.
10 cruise outbreaks in ’17
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks gastrointestinal illness reports on ships sailing to the United States. The Ovation of the Seas outbreak is not tracked because the ship falls outside the CDC’s jurisdiction.
The CDC’s online database lists 10 outbreaks for 2017 on ships in which more than 3 percent of those on board reported symptoms of “diarrheal disease.”
The last outbreak involving a Royal Caribbean cruise was a case of norovirus in February 2016 aboard the Anthem of the Seas.