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Cruise ship outbreak sickens 212

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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that 197 passengers and 15 crew members aboard the cruise ship Oceana have come down with a gastrointestinal illness.

A CDC field team boarded the ship Saturday in Barbados to gather more information on the outbreak.

"We conducted interviews with passengers and crew members and gathered samples," said CDC spokeswoman Susan McClure. "The investigation continues."

There are 1,859 passengers and 868 crew aboard, according to a statement released by the CDC.

The Oceana left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, November 29 and is scheduled to return December 13, said a spokeswoman for P&O Cruises, the company that owns the ship.

The spokeswoman said crew members were trying to keep sick passengers comfortable and hydrated.

According to a spokeswoman for the cruise line, the ship left Antigua Monday for St. Maarten.

The Oceana was the latest cruise ship to be stricken by outbreaks in recent weeks.

Passengers and crew on four consecutive cruises of Holland America's Amsterdam and two cruises of Disney's Magic were sickened by a Norwalk-like virus. The virus can be transmitted person-to-person or by consuming contaminated food or water.

A Norwalk-like virus is also suspected in a recent outbreak aboard Carnival's Fascination.

A shipboard laboratory determined that salmonella bacteria caused a recent outbreak of stomach illness on the Seven Seas Mariner, but the CDC has yet to confirm that finding.

Salmonella is a food-borne illness with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

On November 29, the Oceana underwent a routine unannounced inspection and scored 95 out of 100 points, the CDC statement said.

CNN Miami Assignment Editor Patrick Oppmann contributed to this report.

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