A newspaper in Italy is reporting that a U.S. passenger became sick with meningitis and was taken ashore for medical treatment once the ship arrived at port.

The Corriere del Mezzogiorno newspaper reports that when the Seven Seas Voyager cruise ship arrived at the port of Messina, one U.S. passenger was taken from the cruise ship to a hospital in Gaeta. However, no other passengers were allowed to disembark – apparently out of concern that they may also be sick and infect people ashore.

The newspaper account states that the passengers were given prophylactic medications but must wait at least 48 hours to avoid others from being infected. 

Meningitis is a serious disease affecting the mucous membranes surrounding the brain. It can be spread in the air, person to person and through contaminated food or water. It can be deadly.

Last month four crew members were infected with meningitis while working on the MSC Orchestra cruise. They were hospitalized in a medical facility in Italy.  One crew member died. The frightening thing about that case was that two of the crew members worked in the cruise ship’s galley which increased the prospects that the passengers could be infected.

Anyone aboard the Seven Seas Voyager with information to share, please leave a comment below.

October 29, 2012 Update: The Cruise Critic message board has a comment that this was a "suspected" case of meningitis and the Italian Health Ministry indicated that the passenger tested negative for the disease.