A Dallas hospital worker who handled Ebola specimens of Thomas Duncan is currently being self-quarantined on a Carnival cruise ship over the Caribbean.
ABC News reports that the unidentified female worker departed on a cruise ship from Galveston, Texas, on October 12, and was out of the country before being notified of active monitoring required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the government statement. The woman was considered to be in the "low risk" of infection category, but it is important to note that the second nurse to contract the deadly Ebola virus was also considered low risk, and was released to fly.
The monitoring was setup after two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, tested positive for Ebola. After the positive tests, the CDC then contacted all healthcare workers that had direct contact, or contact with Duncan's specimens, to notify them that active monitoring was required. When they contacted the healthcare worker, now on the cruise ship, she had already departed. Now the woman has voluntarily self-quarantined in her cruise ship room.
The worker is on the Carnival Magic cruise ship that departed from Galveston on October 12, and was scheduled to make stops in Isla Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. You can see the full schedule listed below for the cruise ship.
According to the New York Daily News, the sailing healthcare worker does not show any symptoms. However, that hasn't stopped Belize from banning the ship from porting at their dock. Belize is being extra cautious, and banned the cruise ship from docking at their port. When the U.S. asked the country to help evacuate the worker, the government refused, and the Coast Guard blocked the ship from entering the port, the Washington Post reported.
The government maintained that the lab worker would "never set foot in Belize." However, Belize said no thanks, and is not allowing the ship to utilize their dock for the transport of the worker.
Meanwhile, both Ebola positive nurses have been transferred across the country for treatment. Pham arrived in Maryland Thursday to receive treatment at the National Institute of Health's Clinical Center in Bethesda. Vinson is at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, listed in stable condition, her relatives said.
What do you think the U.S. government should do to ensure healthcare workers are not traveling, like the latest cruise ship Ebola scare and the flight scare in Ohio after Vinson flew with a low-grade fever? Should all travel be restricted for anyone who has been in contact with an Ebola patient?