500 now sick at Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas Cruise Ship

The number of passengers affected by a gastrointestinal disease on a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship has increased to nearly 500, one day after the company said 277 passengers on the ocean oasis had begun to get sick.

Passengers began to feel ill after the cruise ship departed from Port Canaveral in Florida on Sunday, NBC News reported.

The trip, now short, was set to sail for a week through the Caribbean. The Oasis of the Seas will be back at Port Canaveral on Saturday. All passengers will receive a refund due to the outbreak, NBC News reported.

Passengers were informed of the increasing number of people affected on Friday. Passenger Shawn Popeleski told Orlando Sentinel that they were told that the outbreak is "most likely norovirus."

Norovirus is considered "highly contagious" by the disease control and prevention centers. People contract norovirus from an infected person, from contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea, and although highly contagious, the CDC says the disease is "relatively rare on cruise ships."

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