Dozens of people on a cruise ship that docked in San Francisco on Monday were quarantined aboard the vessel after contracting a gastrointestinal illness believed to be norovirus, a cruise line spokeswoman said today.
As of today, 56 passengers and 13 crew members had reported being sick to the ship's medical center, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The ship, which is carrying 3,161 passengers, spent more than 16 hours docked at the Port of San Francisco after arriving about 7 a.m. Monday. It departed about 11 p.m., Port spokeswoman Renee Dunn Martin said.
"We believe the cause to be the common virus called norovirus, which is extremely contagious and easily transmitted from person-to-person," the cruise operator said in a statement.
The Port learned of the outbreak Tuesday.
"We're backtracking to make sure all the appropriate protocols were followed," Dunn Martin said.
The ill passengers will be isolated in cabins until they are no longer contagious, according to the cruise line, which also implemented a number of enhanced sanitation procedures developed in coordination with the CDC to prevent the disease from spreading.
Commonly touched surfaces such as railings, door handles and elevator buttons are being disinfected, and passengers are being encouraged to use correct hand-washing procedures and hand-sanitizing gels placed throughout the ship.
Crew members are also communicating with passengers both verbally and in writing about ways they can stay sanitary while onboard the ship, according to Princess Cruises officials.
"We are aware [of the illnesses] and are monitoring the progress of the voyage," said CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden.
The Crown Princess departed from Los Angeles on Saturday for a seven-day roundtrip cruise along the California coast and was heading to Santa Barbara after its stop in San Francisco.