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Chopper Lands for Blood Sample in Ebola Cruise Scare

The helicopter was dispatched to ferry a sample from a hospital worker who may have handled Ebola fluids and is on a ship due to dock in Texas Sunday.

A helicopter landed aboard a cruise ship Saturday to pick up a blood sample from a passenger who may have handled fluids from an Ebola patient, ahead of the Carnival Magic’s planned docking at Galveston, Texas, Sunday.

Carnival said Texas health officials requested that a sample be taken from the passenger and tested, but that the ship is still scheduled to arrive Sunday morning. The company said of the passenger, who is in quarantine, that “she’s feeling absolutely fine.”

The passenger is a lab supervisor at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan was treated for Ebola and died on Oct. 8. Two nurses who treated Duncan at that hospital have since tested positive for the disease.

The employee on the cruise ship, who set sail on Oct. 12, did not have “direct contact” with Duncan himself, Carnival has said. Still, amid worries about the disease Mexican officials would not grant the ship clearance to make a scheduled stop at Cozumel on Friday afternoon.

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— Katie Wall and Phil Helsel