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Bug hits cruise ship

7th July 2009

Passengers on a tour of the UK on the Marco Polo cruise liner have been affected by norovirus, with one death and over 150 falling ill.

norovirus

Reports say that a 74-year-old man, believed to come from Norwich, died on board the vessel.

The ship is carrying 769 passengers and 340 crew members, and has berthed at Invergorden, Easter Ross.

Transocean Tours, who manage and own the liner, said the man's death was not related to the norovirus outbreak.

In a statement the company said the elderly passenger with "chronic heart and breathing problems suffered a fatal heart attack on board ship."

The company added that 75 people had become ill with an "unconfirmed virus". However NHS Highland said they thought 150 poeple were ill with "suspected norovirus".

NHS Highland said tests were being carried out to identify if the illness was caused by norovirus.

Invergordon councillor Maxine Smith was critical of how the outbreak had been dealt with and pointed out that passengers had been able to roam around the town after the ship was berthed.

"We have shopkeepers, businesses and people who've come into contact with cruise passengers who are all worried that they have come into contact with someone who has potentially has the virus, " she said.

"The whole thing has been handled really badly."

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