Health

Why Norovirus Is So Nasty and Terrifying to Travelers

[ABC News]

The Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas is docked at Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (Thomas Layer/AP Photo)
The Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas is docked at Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (Thomas Layer/AP Photo)

A nasty sickness has struck again aboard a cruise ship, sending more than 600 passengers and crew on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas to their sick beds with vomiting and diarrhea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet identified the mystery illness as the ubiquitous norovirus — the most common form of gastroenteritis in the U.S., according to the CDC — but medical experts say they suspect the highly contagious virus was the culprit.

Norovirus outbreaks are notoriously difficult to control. The virus is easily passed from person to person, spreads through food and ice, and also can survive on inanimate objects for days.

Even with scrupulous cleaning, the virus can still remain intact, according to Dr. Richard Besser, ABC’s chief medical correspondent.

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