Illness wanes on Queen Mary 2 cruise ship with 200 sickened passengers

ARCHIV: Das Kreuzfahrtschiff "Queen Mary 2" im Hafen Hamburg (Foto vom 04.05.11). An Bord des Kreuzfahrtschiffes "Queen Mary 2" ist ein unbekannter Virus ausgebrochen. 194 Passagiere und elf Besatzungsmitglieder litten an Durchfall und Uebelkeit, meldete die US-Gesundheitsbehoerde Center for Disease Control and Prevention auf ihrer Internetseite. Die Symptome deuteten auf einen Norovirus hin. Der hochansteckende Virus wird ueber verunreinigtes Wasser und Lebensmittel verbreitet und fuehrt zu Erbrechen und Durchfall. (zu dapd-Text) Foto: Philipp Guelland/dapd Google Translation: ARCHIVE: The cruise liner "Queen Mary 2" in the port of Hamburg (photo from 04.05.11). On board the cruise ship "Queen Mary 2" an unknown virus has broken out. 194 passengers and eleven crew members were suffering from diarrhea and nausea, the Gesundheitsbehoerde U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on its website. The symptoms indicated a norovirus. The highly contagious virus is spread by contaminated water and food and leads to vomiting and diarrhea. (DAPD to-text) Photo: Philip G

SAN JUAN, Puerto RicoThe cruise line that operates the Queen Mary 2 says an apparent outbreak of gastrointestinal illness has subsided as the ship heads back to port.

Cunard Line spokeswoman Jackie Chase says just two passengers had suspected cases of norovirus on Tuesday. That's down from 201 cases of infected passengers reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Tuesday as the ship made its way through the Caribbean on a 12-night voyage with more than 2,600 passengers.

As of Wednesday Jan. 2, 16 members of the 1,255-person crew have also been sickened, according to the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program, which tracks disease outbreaks on ships.

Norovirus is easily transmittable and typically results in vomiting and diarrhea which often resolves in one or two days. The infection can be riskier for young children, the elderly and people with other medical conditions, leading to hospitalization or even death.

The illness can be brought on board a cruise ship in contaminated food or water by passengers who may have been infected while ashore.

The CDC and Cunard say the crew of the Queen Mary 2 took steps to halt the spread of the virus such as deploying teams to do additional cleaning of public areas with disinfectant.

Tomorrow two CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers and an epidemiologist will board the ship on its arrival in Brooklyn on Thursday, the CDC said on its website.