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Ailment hits 117 aboard fourth cruise ship

MIAMI -- Nearly 120 people have been sickened with symptoms consistent with a Norwalk-like virus on a fourth cruise ship to report an outbreak of a stomach ailment in recent weeks.

The Oceana, operated by P&O; Cruises of Great Britain, reported that 114 passengers and three crew members have been treated for some sort of virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

More than 1,000 passengers have recently become sick on cruise ships, but cruise lines and travel agents said the problems have not significantly cut into business.

A CDC spokesman said the symptoms aboard the Oceana are consistent with the virus that have recently plagued Holland America's Amsterdam, Carnival Cruise Lines' Fascination and Disney Cruise Line's Magic. Federal health officials were expected to board the Oceana to investigate.

The Oceana, carrying 1,859 passengers on a 15-night trip, is on only its third sail since its inaugural voyage from Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades on Nov. 1.

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The Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses can cause diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting for 24 to 48 hours, according to the CDC. They are spread through food and water and close contact with infected people or things they have touched.

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