Tim Stieghorst has reported that the Queen Elizabeth 2 is the first cruise ship to be struck by a norovirus outbreak in 2007. Full story

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — The storied Queen Elizabeth 2 has a new distinction its owners would prefer not to have after it become the first cruise ship in 2007 to suffer a serious outbreak of norovirus illness, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

So far 263 passengers and 27 crewmembers on the QE2 have been sickened by the increasingly common ailment that causes vomiting and diarrhea for 48 to 72 hours since the ship left Southampton, England, on Jan. 2, according to the article.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials were to board the ship today when it docks in Acapulco, Mexico, to survey passengers and inspect cleaning procedures, the article noted.

The Cunard Line ship is on a 106-night world cruise; a company spokesman said there were has no plans to interrupt the QE2 world cruise for disinfection, although special cleaning rules have been followed since the outbreak began, the article noted.