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(GETTY/ARNEE DODD/CDC via CNN) - A 10-day Caribbean cruise ship will return two days early after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness sickened more than 600 people.
One passenger, Arnee Dodd, said her gastrointestinal symptoms came on suddenly.
"It was vomiting and diarrhea. It almost had no warning," she said. "There was high fever, chills, aches, dehydration."
By the next morning, she says the infirmary was packed with sick passengers.
"As soon as I got down there the nurse walked out and looked at everyone and said if you're not sick you have to leave right now because this is spreading faster than we can contain it," Dodd said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still investigating why so many passengers got sick.
But the typical cause is norovirus.
"You have all those people in a confined space over a long period of time. And this is an easily transmissible virus person to person," said Charles D. Humphrey from the CDC.
Unfortunately, this cruise ship scenario has happened before.
"We were with them two years ago. The same thing. The ship was overrun with this sickness," a passenger said.
Last year, according to the CDC, nine cruise ships reported illnesses among passengers. The year before that, 16.
Royal Caribbean said in a statement that once docked, the ship underwent an extensive and thorough sanitizing.
"They were sanitizing the hallways, they did ceiling to floor, nonstop for about 24 hours," Dodd said.
And infected passengers and crew were advised to stay in their cabins until they were well for at least 24 hours.
Copyright 2014 GETTY, ARNEE DODD, CDC via CNN. All rights reserved.