Norovirus Steers Cruise Ship Back to Port

A Caribbean cruise has ended at a South Carolina port for hundreds of passengers who became ill with the norovirus.

Passengers on the Celebrity Mercury did not immediately leave the ship when it arrived in Charleston early Friday.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Jay Dempsey says tests confirmed the norovirus caused intestinal ailments for passengers and crew.

Celebrity Cruise spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said 413 of the more than 2,600 passengers and crew had symptoms. The vessel will be completely cleaned before leaving on another cruise on Friday with 1,900 passengers.

The virus can spread quickly in closed quarters like cruise liners or day care centers. State health officials say South Carolina has had about twice the normal number of cases of norovirus this winter.