Cruise ship with passenger who handled ebola specimens denied entry in Mexico

A Carnival cruise ship carrying a passenger who worked in the lab of a Texas hospital that treated Ebola patient Thomas Duncan has been denied entry to Mexico and is headed back to the US.

The unidentified lab worker may have handled Ebola specimens belonging to Duncan, but did not come in direct contact with him. The CDC revised its protocols after the lab worker had already boarded the cruise ship.

Washington Post:

The Carnival Magic had been waiting off the Mexican coast since Friday morning for its scheduled port visit. Mexican authorities still hadn’t given clearance by noon, so the ship continued to its home port of Galveston, Tex., where it was due back on Sunday, according to Carnival.

The health worker, a lab supervisor who has not been named, has shown no symptoms of the disease but remains on board and in voluntary isolation, according to Carnival. “We greatly regret that this situation, which was completely beyond our control, precluded the ship from making its scheduled visit to Cozumel and the resulting disappointment it has caused our guests,” read a statement from Carnival.

The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital employee and a partner boarded the ship Oct. 12 in Galveston before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the requirement for active monitoring, the U.S. State Department said in a statement. Although the worker is healthy, the U.S. government had said it was working with the cruise line to get the ship back to America “out of an abundance of caution.”

The employee did not come into direct contact with Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States. However, she may have been exposed to his clinical specimens, the State Department said.

Carnival said it would provide $200 credits to guests aboard the ship and 50 percent discounts on a future cruise.

The news comes amid growing concerns after two nurses who cared for Duncan tested positive for Ebola.

It's not the lab workers' fault. It's the fault of the CDC who should have had their protocols in place before the first Ebola patient showed up. In fact, they were assuring us right up to the point where Duncan walked through the hospital door that they had a handle on the situation. They didn't, and now at least two more people are infected with God knows how many more to be discovered.

What Jonathan Last calls the belief in the "omnicompetence of the elites" is fraying. No one has any confidence that whoever is in charge can prevent a catastrophe. We may yet slip by with minimal damage. But if we do, it won't be because of the management of those in charge of protecting us.

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