Good news: Hospital worker on board Carnival cruise tested negative for Ebola
Passengers aboard the cruise ship that carried a health worker who handled specimen from Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who died of the Ebola virus, can now heave their sigh of relief now that the possible Ebola carrier is confirmed to be free of the deadly virus and that there was never any risk of the disease spreading in what is dubbed as the Ebola Cruise.
It was revealed last week that one of the passengers of the Carnival Magic was a laboratory supervisor at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas who may have had handled Duncan's specimen while he was being treated at the hospital generating anxieties over the possible spread of the fatal virus during the weeklong Caribbean trip.
Passengers took caution by avoiding surfaces that could harbor the virus, using hand sanitizers and being more careful when making contact with other passengers.
Because of the growing anxiety, the health worker, who have not actually come in direct contact with Duncan, and her husband agreed to quarantine themselves aboard Carnival Magic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed the cruise ship's administrators about the unnamed passengers' connection with the hospital in Dallas on Wednesday but the woman and her husband were not given approval to fly home from Belize on Thursday.
On Saturday as the Carnival Magic headed for Galveston, a U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter dropped testing equipment to the ship, which included a protective suit for handling hazardous materials. The ship's doctor then took blood samples from the woman and her companion, which were taken to the Texas Department of State Health Services lab in Austin.
After the samples tested negative for Ebola, a CDC official was taken by boat to the cruise ship and personally examined the woman and her husband. The results showed the couple is free of the fatal virus.
On Sunday, the Galveston county health district issued a statement saying that the passengers were allowed to get off the ship as there is no evidence that they pose threats of infecting other people with Ebola.
"The Galveston County Health Authority has made the assessment that there is no evidence of a public health threat to cruise passengers or to Galveston County. The passenger and her travel partner have been allowed to disembark without restrictions," the GCHD said [pdf] in a statement.
The couple was immediately removed once the ship docked in Galveston on Sunday morning.