Galveston deems Carnival passenger no public health threat

By Tom Stieghorst
The Galveston Public Health Authority said it has reviewed all available information regarding a potential Ebola contact voluntarily isolated on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship returning to the Port of Galveston.

In a statement posted on its website, the authority said it has concluded there is no evidence of a public health threat to cruise ship passengers or Galveston County from the passenger.

The Carnival Magic returned to Galveston on Oct. 19 after a seven-night cruise. The passenger in question worked at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital as a lab supervisor where she handled test samples from a patient who died from Ebola infection.

She was voluntarily isolated on the ship after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed Carnival of her status on Oct. 15. Authorities in Belize declined to let the supervisor and a traveling companion off the ship to be flown back to the U.S. Carnival skipped a subsequent port of call in Cozumel after delays in getting clearance to dock.

The Galveston health agency said upon Carnival Magic’s arrival the passenger and her travel partner were allowed to disembark without restrictions.

The agency said its assessment was based on the fact that the person was confirmed to have remained asymptomatic. Also, a blood sample obtained from the woman on Oct. 18 and flown for screening by the Department of State Health Services lab tested negative for Ebola.

Carnival said the Magic is expected to depart as normal on its next scheduled cruise.

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