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Gigantic cruise ship hit with foodborne illness outbreak

Almost 200 people on one of the world’s largest cruise ships are sick with what public health officials say appears to be a foodborne illness from the boat’s bottomless buffet.

Part of the Royal Caribbean International fleet, the American-owned Ovation of the Seas has more than 5,800 people on board for its current cruise. Australian and Tasmanian officials are involved in the outbreak investigation. The ship’s home port is Sydney, Australia.

The cruise line acknowledged the outbreak with a written statement.

“Those affected  by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship’s doctors with over-the-counter medication, and we hope all our guests feel better quickly,” the statement from Royal Caribbean said. “Meanwhile, we’re taking steps like intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues.

“Upon arrival into port in Sydney, the ship and terminal will be comprehensively sanitized and cleansed to help prevent the spread of illness, resulting in a delay to boarding for new guests.”

Five passengers had to go to the Royal Hobart Hospital for treatment while the ship was docked at the Tasmanian capital’s port. Health officials there told Australian media that three ambulances met the Ovation of the Seas when it docked at Hobart. Two passengers will likely need to be transferred from the ship to hospitals when the ship docks in Sydney.

Passengers took to social media to share experiences during the outbreak. Some praised the efforts of the ship’s crew, some of whom are seen in a passenger video spraying down hallways on the ship.

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