Officials board ship to investigate outbreak of illness

Passengers from a motorcycle cruises' tour group, prepare to board the Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas, docked at Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. Health officials have boarded the cruise liner to investigate an illness outbreak that has stricken at least 300 people with gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. Over 13 of the 34 motorcycle riders fell ill during the trip. (AP Photo/Thomas Layer)
Passengers from a motorcycle cruises' tour group, prepare to board the Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas, docked at Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. Health officials have boarded the cruise liner to investigate an illness outbreak that has stricken at least 300 people with gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. Over 13 of the 34 motorcycle riders fell ill during the trip. (AP Photo/Thomas Layer)

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — U.S. health officials have boarded a cruise ship docked in the U.S. Virgin Islands to investigate an illness outbreak that has stricken at least 300 people with gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that 281 passengers on the Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas have reported getting sick. That’s nearly 10 percent of the 3,050 passengers on the cruise that left Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Tuesday. Twenty-two crew members also reported feeling ill.

At least two CDC officials were expected to investigate and evaluate the outbreak response on the cruise liner.

A Royal Caribbean spokeswoman says the ship underwent “extensive and thorough sanitizing” during its previous port call in Puerto Rico to help prevent more people from getting sick.

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