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Norovirus outbreak sickens hundreds of cruise ship passengers, crew members

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royal сaribbean's oasis

One of the world’s biggest cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, is returning to a Florida port a day early and giving passengers full refunds of their fare after 277 guests and crew members were hit with an outbreak of norovirus as it sailed to Jamaica.

Cruise line spokesman Owen Torres told The Associated Press, “We think the right thing to do is get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health.”

He says the ship will return to Port Canaveral on Saturday. It sailed from there Sunday on a seven-day Caribbean cruise.

Passengers took to social media on Wednesday, tweeting they were forced to stay onboard after docking in Falmouth, Jamaica, for what was supposed to be a day of excursions.

Torres said returning a day early gives the cruise line “more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship” before it sails again.

What is norovirus?
Norovirus, sometimes called the stomach flu (though it is not related to the flu virus), is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms can include nausea, stomach pain, fever, headache, and body aches.

A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to the virus. People of all ages can be affected by norovirus.

How is norovirus spread?
“When you are sick with norovirus, you can shed billions of virus particles in your vomit and poop. It only takes a few of these particles to make someone sick,” the CDC explains.
The illness spreads rapidly if you eat food or drink liquids that are contaminated with the virus, touch contaminated surfaces or objects and then touch your mouth, or have direct contact with an infected person, such as by caring for them or sharing food or utensils with them.

The CDC notes that while people often associate cruise ships with norovirus, acute gastrointestinal illness is relatively infrequent on cruise ships. However, the close living quarters on the ship increases the risk of transmission.

How is norovirus treated?
Most people will recover from norovirus in a couple of days. Since norovirus is a virus and not bacteria, antibiotics will not treat the infection.

If you are sick from norovirus, drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost from vomiting and diarrhea. This will help prevent dehydration.

How can you prevent infection?
There is currently no vaccine against norovirus but there are steps you can take to prevent infection. Always make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers; when eating, preparing, or handling food; and before giving yourself or someone else medicine.

Safe food prep is also important. Be sure to carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Oysters and shellfish need to be thoroughly cooked before they are ready for consumption. Noroviruses are relatively resistant to heat and can survive temperatures as high as 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Food that may be contaminated with norovirus should be discarded immediately. Kitchen utensils, counters, and surfaces should be routinely cleaned and sanitized before preparing food to avoid foodborne illnesses.

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/norovirus-cruise-ship-277-people-sick-on-royal-caribbean-cruise-ship-hit-with-norovirus-outbreak-include-passengers-crew-members/

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9-year-old genius to graduate university

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Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne

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Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Source nydailynews.com/

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