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Norovirus outbreak on cruise ship

Cruise ship Marco Polo has been berthed at the Scottish port of Easter Ross, following an outbreak of the 'norovirus' vomiting bug.

Approximately 380 people on board the ship have been showing symptoms of the virus, with the last 24 hours seeing this number jump from an initial figure of approximately 150. One passenger - a 74-year-old Norwich resident - died of an unrelated heart attack while on board. Medical examinations will be carried out in the next few days to determine the full cause and any possible relation to the virus. Cruise line Transocean Tours of Bremen said: "The death was unrelated and the ship had been thoroughly searched by health officials."

Five other passengers are being treated in hospital, with a sixth airlifted after contracting an infection unrelated to the suspected outbreak. The remaining passengers will be restricted from continuing the cruise until the cause of the outbreak has been discovered and controlled. 

Norovirus is fairly common infection whose effects may become magnified in confined spaces such as cruise liners. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, a mild fever and stomach cramps. It is not usually dangerous, but may prove serious to those with underlying health problems.