Texas nurse who treated Ebola victim Thomas Duncan quarantined on cruise ship in Caribbean

Health worker may have handled Mr Duncan's fluid samples

Heather Saul
Friday 17 October 2014 12:50 BST
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Thomas Duncan was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola within the United States
Thomas Duncan was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola within the United States (AP)

An Ebola health care worker who may have handled samples taken from Ebola victim Thomas Duncan has been quarantined on board a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

The unidentified woman, a staff member at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, set sail on the cruise from Galveston, Texas on 12 October. The US Department of State said she did not have direct contact with Mr Duncan, but may have handled fluid specimens collected from him.

Two other health workers, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who also provided care for Mr Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, have since tested positive for the virus. Ms Vinson had travelled on a commercial flight with a slight temperature the day before being diagnosed.

The two nurses have been the only cases of transmission in the US after Mr Duncan was exposed to the virus in Liberia and was diagnosed in Texas.

The US Centres for Disease Control has been monitoring all of the people who may have come into contact with Mr Duncan before his death. However, it was only requiring self-monitoring at the time when the woman left the US.

Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the State Department, said: “It has been 19 days since the passenger may have processed the since-deceased patient’s fluid samples.

“The cruise line has actively supported CDC’s efforts to speak with the individual, whom the cruise ship’s medical doctor has monitored and confirmed was in good health

“The hospital employee and traveling partner have voluntarily remained isolated in a cabin. We are working with the cruise line to safely bring them back to the United States out of an abundance of caution.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

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