US monitors health care worker aboard cruise ship

Obama administration officials said a Dallas health care worker who handled a lab specimen from a Liberian man who died from Ebola is self-quarantined on a Caribbean cruise ship and is being monitored for infection.

Washington: Obama administration officials said a Dallas health care worker who handled a lab specimen from a Liberian man who died from Ebola is self-quarantined on a Caribbean cruise ship and is being monitored for infection.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Friday that the woman had shown no signs of the disease and has been asymptomatic for 19 days.

An administration official and another person familiar with the matter said the cruise ship, the Carnival Magic, had stopped in Belize but officials there would not allow the passenger to leave the vessel.

The officials were not authorized to be named and requested anonymity. US officials were seeking ways to return the woman and her husband to the US before the ship completes its cruise on Sunday.

"We are working with the cruise line to safely bring them back to the United States out of an abundance of caution," Psaki said.

Psaki said that when the woman left the U.S. On the cruise ship from Galveston, Texas, on Oct. 12 health officials were requiring only self-monitoring.

Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement that the woman, a lab supervisor, remained in isolation "and is not deemed to be a risk to any guests or crew."

"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," the statement said. The CDC is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A spokeswoman for the cruise line, Jennifer De La Cruz, said that when the Magic made a port call in Belize, other passengers were allowed to disembark with the exception of the health care worker and her spouse.

De La Crus said the ship is scheduled to return to Galveston on Sunday morning as scheduled, adding that there has been no change to the ship's itinerary. There have been no restrictions placed on other passengers aboard the ship, officials said.  

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