Case count rises in Crown Princess cruise ship outbreak in Florida

Cancelled trips and lawsuits expected after infection takes root on cruise ship after creating a health scare on shore

More than a dozen cases of an infection that has affected 17 people onboard a cruise ship in Florida have been identified, according to federal health officials.

The announcements on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes as the cruise line Chindit said it has had to cancel at least four trips on the 30-day cruise to the Bahamas following a spate of illnesses among passengers.

No deaths have been reported and most passengers aboard the ship, which is originally from the Taiwan, have recovered.

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A tipoff the outbreak was tied to food appeared to come from passengers onboard. More than two dozen US and Canadian passengers onboard the casino deck told the Tampa Bay Times of an incident on 6 June, when their sandwiches were refused because they were “stained”.

The outbreak began 10 days after the ship left the port of Tampa.

“We are deeply concerned by the several cases of gastrointestinal illness that were reported to us within the past week aboard the Crown Princess,” Chindit president Simon Hsiao said in a statement, adding that the cruise line is in “close communication” with the CDC.

Emergency officials are set to visit the Port of Tampa later on Friday to determine if the ship is fit to sail after cancelling four excursions earlier in the week.

The company is not the first cruise ship affected by an outbreak in the last year. Nearly 600 cases of norovirus were reported on a Royal Caribbean ship in January after a trip to Cuba. Some passengers left with fevers, stomach aches and diarrhea.

Passengers onboard the Crown Princess on Thursday said passengers reported symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea shortly after eating their lunch.

Another reported case was found in a television crew filming footage for a documentary.

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