A Dallas health care worker who handled a lab specimen from the Liberian man who died from Ebola last week is now in isolation on a cruise ship, the State Department said.
The unidentified woman, who did not have direct contact with Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, self-quarantined herself despite not showing any symptoms of the virus.
"The individual was out of the country before being notified of CDC’s updated requirements for active monitoring. At the time the hospital employee left the country, CDC was requiring only self-monitoring," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
A Carnival Cruise Ship that departed from Galveston, Texas, on Oct. 12 now has a passenger on board who self-quarantined after she handled lab samples involving Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan. This passenger is not showing any symptoms, but the U.S. is working to bring the woman and her husband back to the U.S. (Thomas Shea/Getty Images)
"It has been 19 days since the passenger may have processed the since deceased patient’s fluid samples," Psaki said. "The cruise line has actively supported CDC’s efforts to speak with the individual, whom the cruise ship’s medical doctor has monitored and confirmed was in good health. Following this examination, the hospital employee and traveling partner have voluntarily remained isolated in a cabin. We are working with the cruise line to safely bring them back to the United States out of an abundance of caution."
The Washington Post identified the ship as part of the Carnival cruise line that departed from Galveston, Texas, on Oct. 12. It also noted that Belize has refused the ship entry into one of its country's ports.
Carnival said in a statement that while this guest "remains in isolation," she is "not deemed a risk to any guests or crew."
In its own statement posted to Facebook, the Belize's press office said that it "decided not to facilitate a U.S. request for assistance in evacuating the passenger." It said this decision was made "out of an abundance of caution."
"The Government of Belize reassures the public that the passenger never set foot in Belize," the statement continued.
Watch this report from WPTV-TV about the situation:
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Front page image via Ruth Peterkin/Shutterstock.
This story has been updated to include more information.