Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. took the perfect mid-winter vacation on a cruise ship. Just so happens he's traveling on the same cruise ship that U.S. health officials are set to investigate a possible outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus.
More than 300 passengers and crew members have become sick on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, NBC News reported. Panto told The Morning Call that he and his wife are fine and did not get sick.
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"We left on Tuesday in the snowstorm and right now we are in 92 degree weather in St. Thomas. So what's there to complain about?" said Panto in an interview with The Morning Call. He plans to return to work Friday midday.
"When you're on vacation you roll with the punches," said Panto. "And the punch hasn't been a knockout punch so we are OK."
Officials will be boarding the Explorer of the Seas Ship in the Virgin Islands on Sunday, after it stopped part way through a 10-day cruise from Cape Liberty, N.J., to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten amid reports of vomiting and diarrhea, according to the cruise line and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some 281 of the 3,050 passengers and 22 of the 1,165 crew members showed symptoms of the fast-spreading infection, according to the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, which monitors cruise ships. A CDC Vessel Sanitation Program officer and an epidemiologist planned to board the ship in St. Thomas, will conduct an investigation and evaluate the outbreak and the response.