Healthcare worker from Dallas on Carnival cruise
by Carol Thompson
It has been learned that a healthcare worker who may have handled an Ebola specimen from Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan is on a Carnival cruise.
Belize news is reporting that the Belize government refused a request from the United States to allow the unnamed employee of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to disembark the ship to a waiting air ambulance to be flown back to the states. According to Belize news, the ship left Belize waters last night.
The Carnival Magic is on a seven-night cruise to the Western Caribbean that began Oct. 12 in Galveston, Texas. The ship was at the port of Belize City, Belize on Thursday. It’s scheduled to visit Cozumel, Mexico today and return to Galveston on Sunday morning. The ship has the capacity for approximately 4,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the healthcare worker has been placed in isolation and isn’t believed to be a high risk. According to Belize news, the healthcare worker is traveling with another passenger, reported to be her husband.
Nurse may have shown signs of Ebola before boarding plane
Amber Vinson, one of the nurses who treated Duncan, may have been feeling ill before boarding a Frontier Airlines plane from Cleveland to Dallas, officials said.
Yesterday, Dr. Chris Braden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters in Ohio that “we have started to look at the possibility that she had symptoms going back as far as Saturday… We can’t rule out (that) she might have had the start of her illness on Friday.”
Vinson was reportedly in Ohio to visit with family and plan her wedding. It was stated that she visited a bridal shop while visiting. The bridal shop was closed yesterday.
As Nina Pham, the first Texas nurse to contract Ebola, is said to be recovering. Vinson’s condition was last reported as stable.
While Pham has garnered the sympathy around the country, Americans are reacting with anger over Vinson’s decision to travel after having treated Duncan, who succumbed to the disease Oct. 8. Some have said that Vinson should lose her nursing license while others have gone so far to say that she should be charged with a crime.
Vinson’s uncle, Lawrence Vinson, said his niece didn’t feel ill until Tuesday morning when she went to the hospital, according to CNN, however, Frontier Airlines is reaching out to as many as 800 passengers, a figure that includes those on last Friday’s Dallas-to-Cleveland flight, the return flight four days later, plus five subsequent trips taken by the plane used in that last flight.
President refuses to impose travel ban
President Barack Obama has ignored outcries from both the public and House Republicans to impose a travel ban to West Africa, the hotbed of the Ebola virus. Approximately 100-150 West Africans fly into the U.S. each day.
Mr. Obama is adhering to his stance that the a ban would be counterproductive. The president has been sharply criticized for his handling of the lethal disease and Americans are on edge as the virus has spread and more people appear to have been exposed to the virus by Vinson and now the healthcare worker on the Carnival cruise who is believed to have handled a specimen from Duncan.
South Carolina prepares for virus
A retired nurse from South Carolina was both surprised and upset when she received a letter from the South Carolina Department of Health alerting her that she was registered in their system and would receive a penalty if she failed to respond to any notification from the department within 24 hours. The nurse, Susan Zavell, an RN still holding a nursing license, said she has not practiced bedside care in 12 years.
In New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that eight of the state’s hospitals are prepared to handle Ebola patients, leaving residents there to question the preparedness of the heavily populated state.
Image: Flickr/Seth Agland