Cruise Ship Passengers Hospitalized in Kentucky

Eight passengers on a Mississippi Queen riverboat cruise remained hospitalized in western Kentucky Saturday after developing flu-like symptoms while aboard the boat.

The passengers were part of a group taken to Methodist Hospital
after the boat docked on Friday evening complaining of various
symptoms, including nausea.

Hospital spokeswoman Shelia Patterson said 17 passengers were
treated. Nine were released late Friday, while eight others were
kept overnight for observation.
Patterson said the patients were waiting to be checked by a
doctor on Saturday before being released. None of the illnesses
appeared to be life-threatening.

Nursing supervisor Tony Anglin said the patients probably won't
be released for another 24-72 hours or until they feel better.

"They're in satisfactory condition," he said. "We're treating
the symptoms."

The riverboat left Cincinnati on Wednesday and was scheduled to
arrive in St. Louis on Tuesday. The majority of the ship's 525
passengers remained on the ship Saturday as it continued its fall
foliage tour of the Ohio River, said April Matson, a spokeswoman
for Majestic America Line.

Matson said the company offered assistance to passengers who
chose to leave the cruise.

"A lot of people are nervous about staying aboard," said Carol
Taliaferro, a passenger from El Cerrito, Calif., who boarded the
ship in Louisville on Wednesday. "I feel very uncertain about
what's going on. I don't think they are telling us everything."

The cause of the outbreak was still under investigation
Saturday. An epidemiologist from the Green River Area Development
District was sent to the boat by the federal Centers for Disease
Control, Matson said.

Food and Drug Administration rules require the boat's owner to notify healthy officials if two to three percent of passengers exhibit signs of illness.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)