Ebola exposed health worker who was on a cruise ship has docked today in Galveston, Texas. The health care worker, who’s name is still unknown, and her husband, were cleared to drive home after docking some time around six a.m.
The Health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian may have been in contact with a specimen sample belonging to Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient in the U.S. while he was being treated at the hospital a month ago. He died later from the virus.
At the time of boarding the ship, the 70 people who were exposed to Duncan while he was receiving care where asked to self monitor. After two nurses became infected with the virus these same people where asked to restrict their movements in the general public till the gestation period of 21 days were over.
The unknown women self quarantined herself in her cabin while aboard the ship once news of the travel ban reached officials on the ship. She was being monitored while on the ship and had no symptoms, therefore posing no threat to the other passengers.
When the cruise ship carrying the Ebola exposed Texas health care worker along with her husband docked today in Galveston, a blood sample was taken. The blood sample was sent to Austin for screening. Federal officials expressed, “The women posed no threat because she did not have any symptoms.”
The cruise ship made a stop in Belize and all passengers were allowed off the boat except the exposed women. The ship was supposed to leave Belize around four in the afternoon but did not actually set sail till after midnight. The following morning they were supposed to dock in Cozumel, Mexico, but were not cleared and passengers remained on the ship. They left Cozumel waters around noon on Friday and headed back to the U.S. The american government tried to get the women back to the U.S. when the ship was docked in Belize but the countries prime minister would not allow her on Belize soil.
Passengers on the cruise ship were informed Friday of a Texas Health worker aboard. They were also informed the women made the choice to self quarantine. One passenger, Eric Luther, said, “Everyone remained clam.” adding, “People were not hiding out in their rooms.” There was some concern about the lack of information given after the first announcement Friday.
The hospital, where the women works, has come under heavy scrutiny since September when Duncan was sent home from the emergency department after expressing symptoms of Ebola and informing the hospital of his recent time spent in West Africa, the epicenter of the virus outbreak. They took out a full page ad in the Dallas Morning News apologizing for their mistakes while handling the situation. The hospital admitted to making mistakes along the way and, “Is investigating the details that lead to Duncan’s initial discharge.
There are currently four people in the U.S. being treated for the Ebola virus. As for the Texas health care worker in the Ebola exposed scare, who left the cruise ship that docked today in Galveston with no symptoms and a 21 day window of contagion, things look hopeful.
By Paul Sears
The Washington Post
Photo by Pete Markham – Flickr License