The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed that the norovirus is the cause of the gastrointestinal illness aboard Royal Carribean’s Explorer of the Seas this week. More than 600 passengers and crew were affected, making it one of the largest norovirus outbreaks in 20 years.

RELATED: Infectious Disease Resource Center

Noroviruses are very contagious and are primarily spread through close personal contact or fecal-oral route when contaminated food or water is consumed. It is possible for an infected person to shed norovirus before they have symptoms.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis usually develop 12–48 hours after exposure to norovirus and can include vomiting, diarrhea with abdominal cramps, nausea, low-grade fever, headaches, myalgias, and dehydration.

While there is no specific treatment for gastroenteritis caused by norovirus infection, it is important to replace fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhea and to correct electrolyte disturbances. Antiemetic agents may also be given to adults along with rehydration treatment.

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