Cruise passenger speaks out after Ebola concerns lead to isolation of Dallas hospital worker

Cruise passenger speaks out after Ebola concerns lead to isolation of Dallas hospital worker

A Dallas lab worker who handled a specimen from now-deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan is in isolation on a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ship did not receive clearance to dock in Cozumel, a day after Belize refused to let the passenger leave the vessel.

In an exclusive phone interview with FOX 8 News, a passenger from New Orleans named Jennifer said people on board the Carnival Magic learned about the situation Friday.

"We had not a clue," she said. "(My family) would've never gotten on the ship if I had even an inkling."

More than two weeks ago, the hospital worker handled a lab specimen from Duncan, who eventually died as a result of the Ebola virus.

"It came over the loud speakers and the captain came on and made the announcement," Jennifer said.

"It basically said that there was someone on the ship from Texas Presbyterian who worked there and that the CDC had decided to try to get the person off the boat in Belize, and that the Belize government didn't allow them off. So they decided instead the next route was to put the person in isolation on the ship"

Officials say the isolated woman poses no risk and has shown no signs of the illness for 19 days.

But the situation has disrupted the ship's plans, as a scheduled stop in Cozumel was canceled.

For passenger Jennifer, it has led to some uneasy feelings.

"We have our children on this trip and our grandchild, and I'm just pretty disturbed that somebody that maybe should have already been in isolation was allowed to leave and go get on a cruise with thousands of people and potentially put them at risk," she said.

Jennifer said the cruise ship is now heading back to Galveston.

Carnival officials said they regret the situation, but stress that it was out of their control. Passengers are being given credits and discounts for future cruises.

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