A cruise ship carrying a Dallas hospital worker who may have handled fluids from an Ebola victim docked in Texas early Sunday, and the passenger at the center of a scare headed home. The Carnival Magic returned to a port in Galveston just after 6 a.m. EDT — a day after a helicopter landed on the cruise ship to pick up a blood sample from the passenger.
The blood sample tested negative for Ebola, a Carnival spokesperson confirmed. In a statement to passengers titled “7 Things to Know,” the Centers for Disease Control said, “your fellow passenger remains well and has had no symptoms of illness in the 19 days since performing lab test for an Ebola patient as part of their job as a healthcare worker.” By Monday, the hospital worker would no longer have to monitor her health or adhere to any travel restrictions, the CDC said.
The CDC explained in the statement that the health care worker chose to go on the cruise while she was only required to take her temperature twice daily, but that requirement changed when two women who cared for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan fell ill. The passenger — a lab supervisor at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where Duncan died from Ebola on Oct. 8. — then voluntarily self-isolated in a cabin on the cruise. While the passenger did not have "direct contact" with Duncan himself, according to officials, precautions were taken amid heightened concerns of infection. Carnival Cruise Lines — which has said the woman was "not deemed to be a risk" — confirmed in a statement Sunday that the passenger disembarked and was headed home.
— Cassandra Vinograd and Elisha Fieldstadt
The Associated Press contributed to this report.