Ebola Scare on US Cruise Ship
October 17, 2014
Carnival Magic blocked from entering Belize
Two potential Ebola victims have been identified in Belize, according to reports.
Belizean.com revealed that local TV station Channel 7 received reports that a couple from a Texas-based cruise vessel based off Belize City were not able to return to the ship after being refused entry to the city.
The ‘potential victim’ has been identified as a healthcare worker who is an employee of the Texas Presbyterian Hospital. This is the hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan, Americas Ebola ‘patient zero’ died.
Unlike the two nurses who have contracted Ebola (both Nina Pham and Amber Vinson are currently being treated and are thought to be in a stable condition) she had no direct contact with Thomas Eric Duncan but may have handled specimens collected from him.
“[We] confirmed with representatives of the Ministry of Health that they have indeed received a report that there is at least one passenger on board the cruise ship, Carnival Magic, showing symptoms similar to that of the Ebola virus.
“According to the report made to MOH, the person exhibiting the symptoms did not come ashore today. The ship is reportedly carrying 3,652 passengers and a total population of 4,633 persons,” the news channel confirmed in a broadcast.
The TV station also revealed that the Belize Coast Guard has taken action to ensure that no one is able to leave the ship, including the pilot on board.
In a later Facebook post, the news anchor Indira Craig said that Belize prime minister Dean Barrow has denied the suspected Ebola sufferers entry to the country.
Officers of the US government spoke to the government of Belize yesterday, confirming that a passenger had a low risk of contracting Ebola. The American citizen opted to enter quarantine on-board the ship and is no longer suffering from fever or other illness symptoms.
A government statement from the Belize Government said it was acting out of an ‘abundance of caution’ after being contacted by officers of the US Government and made aware of a cruise ship passenger considered of very low risk for Ebola. It said the US Government had emphasized the very low risk category in this case, but added: ‘Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, the Government of Belize decided not to facilitate a US request for assistance in evacuating the passenger through the Phillip Goldson International Airport.’
The incubation period for Ebola is 2 to 22 days and it has now been 19 days since she handled the samples.
Carnivals official response:
Late afternoon on Wednesday, Oct. 15., we were made aware by the U.S. CDC of a guest sailing this week on board Carnival Magic who is a lab supervisor at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. At no point in time has the individual exhibited any symptoms or signs of infection and it has been 19 days since she was in the lab with the testing samples. She is deemed by CDC to be very low risk. At this time, the guest remains in isolation on board the ship and is not deemed to be a risk to any guests or crew. It is important to reiterate that the individual has no symptoms and has been isolated in an extreme abundance of caution. We are in close contact with the CDC and at this time it has been determined that the appropriate course of action is to simply keep the guest in isolation on board.
We contacted several leading cruise lines and askd them for the comments on the Ebola outbreak…………
MSC Cruises always puts the safety and wellbeing of guests and crew first. Therefore, as part of an industry-wide response, we are taking all necessary steps to ensure neither can be compromised.
MSC Cruises is aware of the notice issued by the US and European Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC & ECDC) that non-essential travel to three West African countries most affected by the Ebola virus disease is to be avoided, and is responding accordingly.
Specifically, MSC Cruises is:
Screening all staff and crew
All staff and crew will undergo screening and questioning to ascertain whether they have been to any of the three affected countries within the last 21 days. If they have, they will be unable to embark.
Screening all guests
All embarking guests will undergo screening and be required to answer a questionnaire to ascertain whether they have been to any of the three affected countries within the last 21 days. If they have, they will be unable to embark.
Preparing staff and crew
Clinical guidance on Ebola from the WHO is being provided to our shipboard medical teams, to ensure they remain alert and responsive.
MSC Cruises continues to monitor the situation closely and is working closely with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents the world’s leading cruise lines, to remain constantly apprised of any new guidance issued by relevant world bodies.
At Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, the health, safety and well-being of all our guests and crew is paramount. Fred. Olsen adheres to all Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice and we continue to monitor the Ebola Virus outbreak very closely.
Fred. Olsen’s cruise ships meet, at all times, the highest safety, hygiene and health standards, and comply fully with the strict requirements and inspections of their Flag State and relevant authorities.
We reported earlier this week that the Ebola virus had already caused a drop in both Carnival Cruises and Royal Caribbeans share prices
For more Information on vaccinations required for foreign travel read our : Vaccination Guide
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