An employee from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is now quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Belize for Ebola monitoring. The woman, who boarded the cruise ship bound for the Caribbean on October 12, may have had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan's clinical specimens.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement that the unidentified woman has not had a fever or demonstrated any symptoms of illness.
Duncan died from Ebola on October 8. In the days that followed, two nurses who cared for him were diagnosed with the virus. The woman in question did not have direct contact with Duncan and was initially told to self monitor for symptoms. Since leaving the country, however, the CDC instructions have changed to include "active monitoring."
Psaki said that the woman and her husband are now in voluntary isolation aboard the cruise ship. The State Department is working to bring the couple back to the United States as quickly as possible. According to CBS News, Belize rejected a proposal from the U.S. to allow the couple to use Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City.
This is the second known case of a Texas Health Presbyterian employee potentially exposed to Ebola using mass transit. Dallas nurse Amber Vinson boarded a Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to Dallas 24 hours before she tested positive for Ebola. The CDC is still working to contact all the passengers from that flight.
Both Vinson and Nina Pham, the other Dallas nurse who contacted Ebola, have been transferred from Texas Health Presbyterian to more experienced hospitals for care.