US health worker with possible Ebola contact is on cruise

Agence France-Presse

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US health worker with possible Ebola contact is on cruise


But the health worker 'is deemed by CDC to be very low risk'
TRAINING. Students wearing personal protective equipment participate in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) training session facility for healthcare workers treating Ebola virus victims in Anniston, Alabama, USA, October 15, 2014. File photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA

WASHINGTON DC, USA – A health care worker who may have come in contact with fluids from a man who died of Ebola is on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and is headed back to Texas, officials said Friday, October 17.

The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital lab supervisor is not showing symptoms of the disease and is voluntarily remaining in isolation in her cabin, Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement.

The ship was denied entry at ports in Belize and Mexico, and by midday Friday was on its way back to Galveston, Texas.

“The decision was made to proceed to Galveston to ensure the ship arrives there on time on Sunday morning,” the company said in a statement.

It has been 19 days since the unidentified lab supervisor, who may have handled clinical specimens from Thomas Eric Duncan, has been in the lab with the testing samples.

The incubation period for the disease – meaning the time lapse between infection and the onset of symptoms – is between two and 21 days.Duncan, a Liberian man, was the first Ebola case diagnosed in the United States. He died on October 8.

Symptoms of Ebola include fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting and in some cases bleeding.

Even if a person is infected, the virus can only be passed on once symptoms appear and only through direct contact with their bodily fluids, such as mucus, semen, saliva, vomit, stool or blood. (READ: Ebola survivors ‘shunned’ as lepers)

‘Very low risk’

The health worker aboard the cruise ship “is deemed by CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to be very low risk,” Carnival said in a statement, noting the CDC had contacted them about the woman “late afternoon on Wednesday.” 


“At this time, the guest remains in isolation on board the ship and is not deemed to be a risk to any guests or crew.

“It is important to reiterate that the individual has no symptoms and has been isolated in an extreme abundance of caution.”

The State Department said it was working with the cruise line “to safely bring them back to the United States out of an abundance of caution.”

The health worker had left on the cruise ship out of Galveston, Texas on October 12.

She left the United States before the CDC updated its requirements for monitoring people who may have had contact with Duncan, according to the State Department. (READ: ‘Ebola to leave generation of distressed kids’)

“We are in close contact with the CDC and at this time it has been determined that the appropriate course of action is to simply keep the guest in isolation on board,” Carnival said.

Two Texas health care workers who treated Duncan have become infected with Ebola and are currently hospitalized in Atlanta, Georgia and Bethesda, Maryland.

As of Friday, 4,555 people had died out of a total of 9,216 cases in the world’s largest-ever outbreak of Ebola. (READ: Ban Ki-Moon: Time for ‘other countries’ to fight Ebola)

The World Health Organization has warned that the infection rate could reach 10,000 a week by early December. –

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