The number of people infected with gastrointestinal illness aboard the Ruby Princess increased to over 300 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC).

We previously reported that the CDC initially indicated that at least two-hundred and nineteen passengers and crew became ill, experiencing vomiting and diarrhea aboard Princess Cruises’ ship, Ruby Princess, which docked in Galveston, Texas. At that time, the CDC reported that 199 of 2,881 (6.61%) passengers and 20 of 1,159 (1.73%) of the crew members reported ill.

The CDC now states that 284 of 2881 passengers (9.9%) and 34 of 1159 crew members (2.9%) were infected with the illness.

Princess Cruises, in an emailed statement shared with WBTW News 13, said it thinks the “likely” culprit was norovirus which can cause acute gastroenteritis.

We have been contacted by many guests who were on the cruise stating that the number of people infected is actually higher than the official count.

One guest commented:

“Many on ship did not report or see doctor. Count is much higher. People are unsure if they will be charged to see doctor, become ill and simply can’t leave room, take medicines bought by going ashore . . . so do not want to wait in line to see doctor. I was sick on ship and did not report. All you want to do is stay in room and sleep. Hard to stay hydrated etc.”

Another passenger stated:

“I was on that ship. There were a lot more passengers sick. There were three in our group and when we called to report all of us, they only took the report on me. A lot of people didn’t report so they wouldn’t be isolated.”

Another said:

“Agreed . . . out of our party of 7, 4 of us got it and it was horrible.”

CBS News reports that the Ruby Princess has since embarked new passengers on a new voyage. The latest group of passengers, currently on another seven-day Caribbean cruise, were informed about the increased illnesses on the previous trip. (Of course, it was too late to cancel or reschedule the cruise).

The CDC has still not determined the “causative factor” for the outbreak. According to the CDC and FDA, the most likely cause for cruise ship GI outbreaks is contaminated water or food.

We suggest reading Norovirus Nightmare: Cruise Industry Plays the “Blame-the-Passenger” Game.

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March 10, 2023 Update:

The Washington Post did its usual coverage of this issue. Reader comments alone are worth reading.

Image Credit: Ruby Princess – KHOU-13 video screengrab “CDC: More than 300 people reported sickness during Galveston-based cruise.”