Princess Cruise Lines Crown Princess is expected to dock in Santa Barbara Wednesday morning. On board are 50 people suspected of having norovirus. That, according to the cruise line, after FOX 11 News called to confirm a message from a ship's passenger to our newsroom about people getting sick on the ship.
There are over 3100 passengers on board and over 1100 crew members. Princess says by Tuesday afternoon 37 passengers had gotten sick and 13 crew members for a total of 50 people.
The cruise operator says that is a relatively small number of people getting sick from the bug that primarily causes nausea and diarrhea. It is a highly contagious virus that can last a couple of days.
Princess spokeswoman Karen Candy says sick passengers have been quarantined in their rooms and those exhibiting signs of the illness are being tested for the norovirus. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Katona tells FOX 11 News that containment will only be demonstrated if the numbers of people getting sick stop at 50. Dr. Peter Katona at the UCLA Medical Center says millions of norovirus bugs could gather onto the head of a pin so on surfaces there could many multiples of that. He suggests washing hands for twenty seconds.
Princess officials say there are no plans to change the ship's itinerary and refunds to sick passengers are not being considered at the moment.