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Second cruise liner arrives in the UK with passengers suffering norovirus… and it's getting ready to sail again tonightCruiseliner Azura brings passengers back from trip with vomiting bugShip docked in Southampton just one day after 'plague ship' OrianaWas due to leave later on a 12-night Christmas cruise to the Canaries
16:05 GMT, 15 December 2012
Just one day after the 'plague ship' arrived back in the UK, a second cruise liner hit by the norovirus vomiting illness has docked in the same port.
The Azura arrived in Southampton this morning with passengers suffering from the bug after the Oriana initially brought 300 to the port with the illness yesterday.
The latest ship, which has been carrying 3,059 passengers on an 11-night Iberia cruise, was due to leave later for a 12-night Christmas cruise to the Canaries.
Sea sick: The Azura cruiseliner has brought ten people back to the UK with the norovirus bug following the 300 sufferers on yesterday's Oriana
Luxury: The atrium at the heart of the Azura has been billed as one of the ship's main features
Ten of those on the cruise which has just ended however have been struck down by the winter vomiting bug.
P&O Cruises said: 'There has been an incidence of a mild gastrointestinal illness among the passengers on Azura.
'This illness is suspected to be norovirus, which is highly contagious and typically transmitted from person to person.
'Norovirus is common throughout the UK, Europe and North America and has affected a number of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and children’s day care centres.'
Another P&O liner, the Oriana, was yesterday dubbed 'a plague ship' after around 300 passengers were struck by the virus.
The ship, which carries 1,843 passengers, returned to Southampton yesterday from a 10-day Baltic cruise and left last night for a 23-night cruise in the eastern Mediterranean.
'Holiday from hell': Passengers arrived back from the Oriana cruise ship on Friday after hundreds were struck down with the vomiting bug
Hundreds of passengers who paid up to 1,429 for the Baltic tour of Christmas markets were struck down by the winter vomiting bug on the fateful cruise.
Large parts of the ship were closed off to avoid the virus spreading further and passengers were quarantined as many were sick in corridors, theatres and restaurants.
Those who fell ill were ordered to stay in their cabins and miss stop offs as the crew battled to contain the highly contagious virus, which also causes diarrhoea.
'Nightmare': Large parts of the Oriana were closed off to avoid the virus spreading any further
During the cruise, passenger Paul Gilman, 62, told the Daily Mail: 'People were falling like flies, yet the crew were trying to insist everything was fine.
'Everyone is saying, ‘this is a plague ship’. It’s a living nightmare.'
Birmingham City Hospital yesterday told visitors to stay away after it was forced to close three wards due to the norovirus infection.
Other hospitals have also taken to Twitter to caution visitors and potential patients.
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust tweeted: 'Please don't visit hospital until at least 2 days after last symptoms of #vomiting #diarrhoea #norovirus Stay home, rest & take fluids.'
Recent figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show more than 750,000 people could be affected by the outbreak of norovirus that has swept the UK.
There have been 2,630 confirmed reports of norovirus so far this season, but for every reported case there are likely to be a further 288 unreported sufferers, the HPA said.
It means 757,440 people could be affected by the stomach bug – representing a 72 per cent increase on the same period last year.
The infection has led to the closure of dozens of hospital wards.
Norovirus is highly contagious and can be transmitted through contact with an infected person or contaminated surfaces and objects.
It is known to spread rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals, schools and nursing homes.
Symptoms include sudden vomiting, diarrhoea or both, a temperature, headache and stomach cramps.
The bug usually goes away within a few days.
Although people can suffer from norovirus at any time of the year, activity increases in the winter months, with most cases seen between October and April.