172 Fall Ill After Norovirus Outbreak on Princess Cruises Ship Headed to L.A.

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More than 170 passengers and crew members on board a Princess Cruises cruise ship that was docked in San Pedro Sunday have fallen ill following an outbreak of Norovirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Crown Princess was docked in San Pedro on Nov. 16, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

The Crown Princess was docked in San Pedro on Nov. 16, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

The Crown Princess ship was sailing from Tahiti to Los Angeles on a month-long cruise when passengers began exhibiting symptoms of the gastrointestinal illness, according to a statement from Princess Cruises that was sent on Sunday.

"Over the last few days, the ship began seeing an increased number" of the cases, the statement read.

About 20 people currently had active cases of the illness, which causes vomiting and diarrhea.

Princess Cruises has taken active steps to combat the virus, including increased cleanings and disinfection procedures, and encouraging hand hygiene and case reporting, the CDC Vessel Sanitation Program reported.

Other steps would be taken once passengers disembarked from the ship to prevent the virus from spreading.

"We have enacted our stringent disinfecting protocols, which includes an extensive deep cleaning in Los Angeles on Sunday before the ship embarks on its next voyage," the Princess Cruises statement read.

This is the second time this year that the Crown Princess has experienced an outbreak of Norovirus, and the fourth time since 2012, according to CDC's website.

In the last outbreak on the ship, which was reported back in April, more than 150 people fell ill as a result of the virus.

The CDC has sent an official to the vessel to investigate the latest report.

Specimens would be collected by the official and sent to the CDC lab for confirmatory testing. Additionally, the official would evaluate the outbreak and evaluate the cruise line's response.

A total of 3,007 guests and 1,160 crew members were reported to have been on the ship at the time the illness broke out.

According to the statement, the vessel's arrival had already been delayed a day because a crew member suffered a "serious medical condition" after the ship left Tahiti on Nov. 10. Consequently, the cruise line was forced to return back some several hundred miles and head to a nearby island so the crew member could undergo emergency surgery.

The life-saving procedure was performed, and the crew member was expected to fully recover.

The medical emergency was not related to Norovirus, the cruise line's statement stressed.