Texas Ebola Worker Quarantined ... on Cruise Ship
Employee may have handled Thomas Eric Duncan's samples
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2014 5:00 AM CDT
In this photo released by Carnival Cruise Lines, the new Carnival Magic departs Dubrovnik, Croatia, on May 3, 2011, during its nine-day inaugural cruise.   (AP Photo/Carnival Cruise Lines, Andy Newman)

(Newser) – If you're already a little paranoid about getting sick on a cruise ship, this news is certainly not going to help: A Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital employee who may have handled Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan's lab specimens has self-quarantined aboard the Carnival Magic. The unnamed worker never came into direct contact with Duncan and isn't showing any symptoms; however, Belize won't allow the Magic or any of its passengers into port, and the US government is now working with Carnival to get the ship back to the US "out of an abundance of caution," the Washington Post reports. Out of its own "abundance of caution," the Belize government says it "decided not to facilitate a US request for assistance in evacuating the passenger through the Philip Goldson International Airport."

"It has been 19 days since the passenger may have processed" Duncan's fluid samples, a State Department spokeswoman says. The ship's doctor confirms the passenger—who boarded the ship in Galveston, Texas, on Sunday and had been self-monitoring via temperature checks—is in good health; both the woman and her husband are now isolated, reports the AP. Under the CDC's updated requirements (which weren't in place when the woman departed Texas), "every person at Texas Health Dallas who has had contact with a known Ebola patient is under active monitoring for 21 days after their last contact with the patient," says an officer for Texas Health Resources. And yesterday, all 75 of them were asked to sign legal documents agreeing not to use mass transit or go to public places for those 21 days, the AP reports. (Meanwhile, Amber Vinson may have shown symptoms four days earlier than reported.)