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More Rhine cruise Britons hit by virus

By Tim Moynihan

Four more British tourists on a River Rhine cruise hit by an outbreak of a gastric virus have been admitted to hospital, the tour operator said today.

Four passengers already in hospital remained there, making a total of eight who would not be coming home today, River Cruise Line said.

The Lady Anne is at Boppard, around 60 miles west of Frankfurt.

The operator confirmed that the eight people in hospital have the norovirus.

The illness, sometimes known as "winter vomiting", causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting, and can cause old people and young children to become dangerously dehydrated.

Some 20 people were taken to hospital over the incident, while around 20 more received treatment on the ship.

The captain alerted the authorities after a number of passengers began suffering vomiting and diarrhoea.

There were 85 passengers on the five-day "turkey and tinsel" trip.

The company, which is based in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, said in a statement: "Our passengers, crew and staff who are on board the Lady Anne are now able to get off the ship and doctors have confirmed that they are fit to travel and we are making arrangements for them to return home today.

"We will be arranging for a doctor to accompany our passengers during the journey to Folkestone.

"Our senior colleagues who went out to the ship yesterday will be staying to support the crew of the Lady Anne and oversee the cleaning of the vessel which will be taking place as planned.

"We would like to again express our gratitude for the excellent work of the German paramedics and offer our apologies to all those directly and indirectly affected.

"Our first priority has always been our passengers and their welfare.

"This incident has obviously had a serious impact on their cruise and with this in mind we will be providing our passengers with a full refund."

The passengers were due to set off on two coaches soon, said the company's managing director, Kevin Riley.

According to the Health Protection Agency, norovirus outbreaks are common in semi-closed environments such as cruise ships, nursing homes and schools.

Belfast Telegraph


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