A US tourist died aboard a cruise liner that docked in the port of Rio de Janeiro today after 79 people aboard became sickened by a mystery illness.
The woman died aboard the MS Veendam, a luxury vessel owned by the US cruise company Holland America Line. The ship sailed from Valparaiso, Chile and docked in Rio with 1800 people on board.
Police said they were awaiting a report from forensic doctors about the woman’s death and they had no word on her identity. But government news agency Agencia Brasil reported that there was no indication her death was related to the health scare.
Federal police, who are investigating the case, said they had been told by the Veendam’s doctor that the woman likely died of natural causes, Agencia Brasil said.
Ronaldo Azaro, tourism secretary for the state of Rio de Janeiro, said Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) had been informed that there was a health issue aboard the ship when the vessel left Valparaiso and later stopped over in Uruguay.
Mr Azaro said at least 72 passengers and seven crew members were affected by an unspecified ailment on the journey from Chile.
Anvisa officials who boarded the ship when it docked in Rio today found only two people still showed symptoms of intestinal discomfort, Mr Azaro said.
He said there was no risk the Rio population could become ill.
Local newspapers reported that during the journey, ship authorities issued a red alert, ordering the closure of the swimming pool and the library and calling on passengers to wash their hands every two hours.