A Texas health worker who may have come in contact with specimens from former Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, has been placed in isolation aboard a cruise ship.
The health worker did not interact with Duncan directly, but they may have processed his bodily fluids. The incubation period for Ebola is two to 21 days, and the worker processed the fluids 19 days ago.
Two nurses from the Dallas hospital have contracted the deadly disease, which has led to an abundance of caution from the CDC and other health agencies.
According to Reuters, the health worker has not shown any signs of the disease, but chose to self isolate to ensure the safety of thousands of other cruise ship passengers.
The worker left port from Galveston on Sunday, and began self-monitoring for symptoms on Monday. The worker and a companion voluntarily isolated themselves in their cabin, and are now waiting for U.S. officials to arrange a return trip via another ship.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement, “We are working with the cruise line to safely bring them back to the United States out of an abundance of caution.”
The health worker left the United States without giving notice. Under new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) requirements, anyone planning to travel or leave the country after assisting in the care or processing of an Ebola patient, must report their plans and gain prior approval.
The Government of Belize have denied a request by U.S. officials to use a Belizean airport to transport a cruise ship passenger, despite their very low risk for Ebola. In a Belize government statement, officials said, “The passenger never set foot in Belize. When even the smallest doubt remains, we will ensure the health and safety of the Belizean people.”
No further details about the patients possible Ebola symptoms have been released at this time.