Disney Cruise Line sails sea of sickness

Mouse shares fall 3% after second onboard outbreak

The House of Mouse’s corporate command wasn’t sure whether continuing Disney Cruise Line woes would impact conglom’s bottom line this quarter, but investors mostly kept their powder dry Tuesday amid reports of a second outbreak of illness aboard a Disney oceanliner.

Mouse shares fell 63¢, or 3% to $19.01. That was just a bit sharper than the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average’s nearly 2% slide.

“It’s premature to determine whether this situation will have an impact on (fiscal) Q1 earnings,” conglom spokesman John Spelich said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that several dozen passengers and crew members had become sick aboard the same Disney oceanliner whose passengers were stricken by flulike symptoms last week. It’s suspected a contagious individual passed along a virus in both instances, the newspaper said.

Both incidents have involved the cruise ship Magic, which was scrubbed and returned to service after a first bout of illness. A rival cruise line vessel has also had a rough ride, with passengers laid low by what officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified as a highly contagious “Norwalk-like” virus that’s traveled nationwide and elsewhere in recent months.

The Norwalk virus and a group of Norwalk-like viruses are among many common micro-organisms that can cause intestinal diseases, according to the CDC. In May, a Norwalk-like virus infected more than 100 people at a London hospital and sickened 38 British marines in Afghanistan.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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