Ebola scare on Carnival ship

| 17/10/2014

(CNS): A Dallas health worker who could have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus is currently in voluntary quarantine aboard the Carnival Magic cruise ship, a vessel that docked in Cayman only two weeks ago, and due to dock this week. Although the woman appears to be low risk for contracting the virus and has not shown any symptoms, the revelation has demonstrated how easily Ebola can spread to anywhere in the world. The Tourism Ministry has said that when the Carnival Magic was last in Cayman there were no indications that the ship or its passengers would have presented any risk at that time. Officials have also contacted the cruise line about action that will be taken to mitigate any potential risk on the ship going forward.

When it was realized that the women who had handled clinical samples from an Ebola patient was on board the cruise ship, it was turned away from both Belize and Mexico and was reportedly heading back to Texas on Friday afternoon.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had alerted the cruise operator on Wednesday that a guest on the ship was a lab supervisor at the hospital where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan was treated.

"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," Carnival said in a statement.

During a public meeting on Monday evening, Dr Kiran Kumar had dismissed public fears about cruise ships being a potential danger for bringing the virus to Cayman, saying that situation as unlikely. However, news that a lab technician was vacationing on the ship so soon after handing samples demonstrates how easily the deadly and contagious virus could spread.

“The health and safety of the Caymanian people remains the government's foremost priority and the ministry has contacted the Carnival cruise line to understand what actions will be taken to mitigate any potential risk. We are also liaising with the Public Health Department to ensure their guidelines and directives for managing such instances are followed,” the ministry said in an official statement Friday afternoon. “The ministry wishes to reassure the public that we will continue to monitor developments closely and further advisories will be issued when new information becomes available.”

The cruise ship carrying the technician had left from Galveston, Texas, on 12October before the woman had been notified of active monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to US authorities. The monitoring was established as two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, tested positive for Ebola.

Since the news of the cruise ship scare CIG has stepped up preparations to deal with the possibility of Ebola arriving inCayman.

For full details see the story below

 

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Comments (69)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    And she tested negative.  She was showing no symptoms, and was not a threat to anyone.  Every cruise ship has a passenger ill at any one time.  Why dies everyone think they are going to get Ebola from a cruise ship in the Caribbean???

  2. Anonymous says:

    People need to stop over reaction with Ebola problem. So far less than 9,000 people died from Ebola meanwhile about 500,000 people died PER YEAR from smoking or about 50,000 died from flu. You have been sitting next your families and friend with smoking and flu yet no one act as it is nothing! Stop over reaction like America people!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The ship was not turned away from Belize. A Carnival spokeswoman, said the ship made its scheduled visit to Belize Thursday. “Passengers were free to disembark there for the day other than the guest and her traveling companion who are in voluntary isolation,” she said. (Washington Post)

    Belize only refused the US State Department's request to evacuate the lab technician.  

  4. MEM says:

    So if Ebola is not as serious or worrysome as we think it is, then why is WHO calling it an epidemic and why are they quarantining people? They don't quarantine people with AIDS, there is obviously more to it than what we are all being told. Believing everything the honest world governments tell us is ignorance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Try finding information on the boyfriend of Nina Pham, the first infected health care worker in the US.

  5. Anonymous says:
    OK… How about this plan. Anyone who works with Ebola Patients SHOULD NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO TRAVEL OUT OF THEIR COUNTRY UNTIL 3 WEEKS OF NOOOOO SYMPTOMS! How about that bright idea???
     
  6. Knot S Smart says:

    A week from now the U.S. news media (CNN in particular) will find a new crisis to overkill with 24 hours a day coverage…

  7. Caymanian x says:

    CNS, that news is old.

  8. Anonyanmous says:

    Know the truth about the Ebola virus from Peter Pilot one of the researchers that first discovered the virus in 1976.  We should be concerned but no need to panic

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/04/ebola-zaire-peter-piot-outbreak

  9. Anonyanmous says:

    There will never be an Ebola case in Cayman, the risks of that happening it slim to none.  Ebola is a serious but it cannot be spread through casual contact, it is very much like AIDS.

    CNS: Read about the transmission of Ebola here.

    • Gut Check says:

      Cayman is far more vulnerable that many other nations;   we have a myriad of visitors from at least two different avenues, neither of which are adequately screened to "prevent" a person from bringing it here.   

      I agree that there has been a lot of hyperbole regarding Ebola transmission, however to blatantly state as a fact that it cannot be transmitted through 'casual contact" — whatever that means to you — is to minimize the danger of it.   Let us be more clear:   It is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids.    That may mean mere touching, or intermediary contact with objects that infected people have touched, much as with other viruses.   

      Ebola is not something we should freak out about, but it is something that we as a nation should identify protocols for dealing with, because if the current geometric progression of illness continues, it will eventually touch us, if evenindirectly.   

      • Anonymous says:

        How do you work out that 'Cayman is far more vulnerable than other nations', where do you think you are?

        Cayman is the most isolated of all the Caribbean nations and Islands, it has a very low number of flights arriving and they only originate from 6 different countries, none of which carry a significant risk of epidemic. Cruise ship passengers are even less likely to be carriers as are those who arrive by small boat or commercial shipping vessels.

        As the UK have acknowledged, screening is a fairly futile gesture as incubation takes approximately 21 days. There are no direct flights from the infected region into the UK so a 6 hour flight from one of the affected countries via Paris is unlikely to provide anything but wasted time. The 3 countries of west Africa that are suffering are already screening people as they leave the country, so what use is another tier of useless temperature taking going to achieve?

        The enemy here is blind ignorance, not Ebola. We come to expect that kind of racial and cultural stereotyping from the insular US, where they think anyone that talks with an African accent is a risk or where anyone wearing a turban must be terrorist. But we should know better, we do have access to world news, not the version spoon fed to ignorant hicks by Fox, CNN or any of the other self absorbed news channels or newspapers.

        Cayman is at no more risk than any other small island or any large country for that matter. Let's not go down the road of ignorant responses, such as the cleaning teams at Lyndon Pindling airport wearing face masks whilst cleaning the BA aircraft. Apart from masking the smell of revolting in-flight meals, they serve no purpose except to demonstrate how stupid some people can be.

        Wise up Cayman, more people die of Flu than Ebola.

         

  10. Slowpoke says:

    Please quit obsessing about Ebola, which you will only get via direct contact with bodily fluids, and start worrying about your coworkers who sneezed in the office, and did not get the flu shot.

    Check the number of annual deaths.  This is not deny the seriousness of Ebola and how tragical it is, but it has to be put in perspective.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ignorance is bliss and I find i amazing that there are so many people here in possession of high level egrees in ignorance.  If a person does NOT have ebola, they cannot spread ebola.  The lab technician has not tested positive for ebola, does NOT have any of the symptoms of ebola, so how do you extrapolate that to her spreading the disease on a cruise ship.  Think logically before engaging your degree in ignorance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for your post.  Its amazing how fear and ignorance spreads faster than the Ebola disease. Aids is just as deadly yet many people continue to have multiple partners and unsafe sex.   There is no outcry or calls for extreme measures.  Yet a disease like Ebola that if you close your eyes could be Aids, is causing so much ignorant conversations and fear mongering.

      Sars and other diseases tha travel and transfer through the air do not seem to be of concern to people!  I wish people would read factual information and understand what they are reading.  Maybe we should stop people from Cayman from travelling to the USA just because that ship was docked here!!   That would be something!

    • Anonymous says:

      as I am aware, it can take qnywhere from 2-22 days for a person to show symptoms of ebola, and only after they show symptoms (up to 3 days after) can a test detect it.

      • Gut check says:

        Did you know that a recovered male victim can retain the virus in his semen for up to sixty days?   Did you know that the WHO and CDC have increased the monitoring period to 42 days?   Why did they do that?   Because 21 wasn't always sufficient to insure that the virus was gone within a human system.    

        I thank you for pointing out the notion that a person can be a potential carrier of the virus without necessarily showing observable symptoms.    This is not a reason for panic.   It's a reason for caution and preparedness.  

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe that this cruise ship actually has to go back to its home base in Florida. Its no way the US will take a chance on ebola and will clean up that ship in a hurry. This is probably more critical that the actions of our Government with regards to this ship.

      • Anonymous says:

        There was nothing wrong with this damn ship or the person concerned. She had merely been in the same lab as the tested samples, she was NOT handling any contaminated material.

        Ignorance such as yours just goes to prove the high levels of stupidity that surround this subject.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I see one passenger has described Carnival Magic as a 'floating petri dish'. It's a fair comment but isn't it rather odd they didn't think about that before booking the cruise? Didn't they realise that any infection will spread like wildfire in a confined environment like a cruise ship before this scare started?

    I just hope CIG has the stones to take similar measures if a cruise ship ever turns up here with any issues like this.  

     

    • Chicken Little says:
      Is it a fair comment?
       
      Nigeria, a West African nation of some 175 million people and limited resources, which had an outbreak,  is about to be declared Ebola free. 

      http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Nigeria-expected-to-be-declared-Ebola-free-20141019

      Ebola is "hard to catch"  http://metro.co.uk/2014/10/19/ebola-risks-in-the-uk-could-you-catch-ebola-on-a-plane-a-tube-or-a-bus-and-is-it-airborne-4909305/

      The death toll to date is much less than 10,000 worldwide. You go figure that as a percentage of the populations of the most infected nation. 

      The Sky is falling, the sky is falling!

      Better watch out for those meteor showers.

       

       

      • Anonymous says:

        I'll bet you'd be singing a different song if you found out your doctor had treated someone with Ebola on the same examination table your bare butt was sitting on. 

        • Anonymous9 says:

          Anonymous 19:25 – Not sure what doctors office you are going to but any doc I've been to in the last 50 years would never allow your butt, bare or otherwise, on their examination table. That's just gross. And stupid.

          You should go to a real doctor…

      • Gut check says:

        You clearly haven't been ;monitoring the geometric progression of the virus.   It is doubling nearly every six weeks.    

        Here's an instance where I actually hope you unresearched statement is correct.   

      • Anonymous says:

        13:52, there is a saying that goes "Proper prior planning, prevents piss poor performance". Carnival didn't hae a plan in place for such scares, so they did what anyone else would do and contained the percieved problem.

        You will also find that Ebola has never been a bad as it currently is in terms of the size of the outbreak, nor have I heard about it reaching America previously.

        Procrastinating on whether or not to implement a plan of action because it only infected 10k people is pretty stupid. Seems eerily familiar to the way HIV was dealt with and look where we are now with that.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a woman that had her holiday booked for ages. She happens to work as a lab tech where someone died from a contagious disease. She didn't touch the patient or only maybe touched (as in was in the lab) his lab tests.

      She went on her scheduled and planned vacation. After she left the CDC decided than maybe they should quarantine anyone who could have come in contact with any of the patients fluids.

      I've seen posts and heard the local radio stations suggesting other passengers should sue her. She has done nothing wrong.

      • Gut check says:

        She banked the safety of passengers on that ship on her own beliefs.    Yes, there was probably not a reason for concern IN THIS CASE;   she should not have gone.   She didn't KNOW that she was clear.     She should've been tested prior to departure, and then the other passengers would have been able to enjoy their planned vactions, and not be stuck on a ship that couldn't land anywhere.    I think it was irresponsible of her, particularly in light of the failed processed that have been demonstrated from the health facility in which she worked.    

        You want us to trust that she KNEW she was virus-free?   No thanks.    

    • Anonymous says:

      Ebola is spread far easier than HIV-AIDS.

    • Anonymous says:

      The only dangerous organisms to come off of any Carnival ship are its trailer trash passengers. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    Who is our Minister of Health again? I can't remember…

    If not them, then what does the leader of this country have to say? Pathetic lack of leadership in the face of a global crisis. Wake up!

  14. Anonymous says:

    so a person that presumably followed protocol  and therfore had no exposure to the virus and has had no bodly or fluid contact otherwise with anyone infected with the virus shows no symptoms  after 19 days …what EXACTLY is your story CNS? …the new FOX newe service…

    stop scaremongering

    • Anonymous says:

      Common sense dictates that if they have been knowingly exposed to infected samples, even taking extraordinary care, that they keep a low profile during what could be an incubation phase of 21 days.  During that time, they should be exercising a very high degree of personal responsibity taking their temperature every few hours and sending blood samples immediately if any changes.  They cant seek help while 500 miles out to sea, where if it kicks into high gear,they risk infecting thousands of fellow travelers that did not volunteer themselves for that level of exposure.  It is extremely reckless behavior from someone who should have know better.

      • Anonymous says:

        She didn't have contact with him or his fluids, she just was working in the lab when the tests were done.

        Give over she's done nothing wrong and certainly nothing against protocols. 

        If they updated to more stringent protocols, well that's hardly her fault.

    • Dr. Do -Little -Too -Late says:

      Correction: Anonymous 17:07, Gestation period for Ebola is 21 days – 3 weeks!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, I would put a virus with a high mortality rate into the "better safe than sorry" category.

      • People's Front of Judea says:

        Getting run over by a bus or getting attacked by a swarm of bees have high mortality rates, too, and they'e both probably more likely than contracting Ebola here in the Cayman Islands (at least right now), but there's no media frenzy about those threats.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "The health and safety of the Caymanian people remains the governments foremost priority" – lol, ok… yet alcohol & tobacco use is rampant in our society….

  16. A Bear-Faced-Lawyer says:

    Belize and Mexico did exactly the right thing. And! I hope we will do exactly what they did and not cow-tow to the Cruise ship companies because of any pressure from anyone connected with the cruise ship business on this island.

    Yes! We need the revenue, but the cruise ships also need us. So let's do our part, but  put the onus on the cruise ships to scan & check theirpassengers  before letting them board their ship. While we on the other hand should have medical personnel observing and questioning them prior to their leaving the ship. We do something similar everyday at our airports throughout the world. Don't we?

    I know there will be those who will say something like, Man you must be crazy! We can't afford to loose them cruise ships. We need that money! That may be true but, I'd rather we loose a few hundred thousand dollars "than to loose one life" and in the end "save the Island" Belize and Mexico are a lot poorer than the Cayman Islands and if they can make the sacrifice they did, so can we! Thus I say to our leadership please don't let us hear you throw the loss of revenue into the equation, because if we stay alert and prepared and trust in God, this too will pass.

    BETTER SAFE, THAN SORRY!

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, just trust in god and your good. . . . .

      God will sent ebola to the unbelievers.

      Amazing . . . .

    • Anonymous says:

      The cruise ship companies need us, like hell they do. What does Cayman offer that a multitude of other Caribbean islands do not? The disgusting Turtle Farm, Stingray City and the over priced duty free outlets are relics of a bygone age, the tourism product of Cayman is a joke compared to many other islands. We have few hotels or resorts, only one beach of any notoriety, no historic downtown area, too much concrete, no pedestrianised shopping streets streets, no attractive harbour side and a monopolised duty free industry. Cruise ship passengers don't need fine dining or over priced sub standard eating outlets and they can hire wave runners or find a party boat anywhere, and probably cheaper. 

      I suppose a half day at Rum Point is the answer then, oh no, they too are raising their prices and turning this into yet another tourist rip off, alongside Kaibo.

      Have you ever wondered why, when there are meant to be in excess of 3000 passengers alighting on Grand Cayman, that the streets and shops are empty, but the returning tenders are not? Many passengers take one look at what we have to offer and turn tail for the all inclusive luxury of their ship. We need to address this and quickly, enough of the arrogance that says if we're here they will come, they won't and we need to understand that.

       

  17. Anonymous says:

    When I was in Sierra Leone a few weeks ago it all seemed normal.

    • Anonymous says:

      Presumably 'normal' meaning this is just another outbreak of something nasty there. SL is a s***hole. I've just got back from Nigeria and they've done an exemplary job of tackling ebola.  

      • InSearchofTruth says:

        As a US citizen who has been closely monitoring this disease on the media for several weeks I have noticed that since Obama appointed his 'Ebola Czar' the media (including CNN)  is getting tight-lipped.  We have had no first hand information in several days about the second  Dallas nurse who flew from Cleveland to Dallas while symptomatic.  Clearly we have till our Election Day for a mandate for suspending visas for air travel from the affected regions in Africa to the US.  You need to be very afraid, Cayman.

         

         

        • Anonymous says:

          "As a US citizen who has been closely monitoring this disease on the media for several weeks…"

          So you're really just another completely ignorant person then. Stop pretending that watching CNN and reading stuff on the internet makes you some kind of expert.

      • Anonymous says:

        07:14.  Why did you insult all the citizens of Sierra Leone.Perhaps you live in similar  conditions (or worse) which I guess would make you an expert on "s***holes."

      • Anonymous says:

        Did u check in with Public Health or tell Immigration?

        • Anonymous says:

          Why should I make my life complicated by doing that? Nigeria has been cleared by the WHO as ebola free. Public health couldn't find their backside with both hands and immigration aren't much better so why bother them with information they couldn't possibly put to any good use? I'm symptom free and flew here on BA after being screened at Heathrow – end of story.   

          • Anonymous says:

            You’re exactly the kind of people we don’t needaround here bragging about something so deadly and running down another man’s country. I seriously pray that you don’t get sick in the next three weeks while you are on this island

  18. Anonymous says:

    An abundance of failures by CDC and zero restraint exhibited by reckless healthcare workers tempting fate.  You can't even make this stuff up!  At this stage it's not unimaginable that these Ebola healthcare workers would volunteer themselves for a kissing booth!  

  19. Anonyanmous says:

    Kudos to Belize and Mexico that is what strong leaders do…. not for the sake of money but for the interest of its citizens.  Can you imagine the out cry from local businesses about the loss of revenue if the government in Cayman made the same decision.

    • Anonymous says:

       07:43.Just out of curiousity;Do you have any idea of what the hue and cry was like in Belize or Mexico?

  20. Anonymous says:

    We are a small island and no one is yet certain how this virus actually spreads. I hope this ship is not allowed to dock in George Town come Wednesday out of an abundance of caution. The old adage "Better Safe Than Sorry" resonates in my mind.    

    • Anonymous says:

      Ebola is spread only through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person.  This has been known for quite some time.  Ebola is not a new virus.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The Ebola threat has clearly been underestimated by government. This was a wake up call, and a clear plan needs to be made.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many other Caribbean countries have baanned entry to nationals from Liberia. Guinea and Sierra Leone and we need to do the same. The USA may not have banned travel from those  countries but they do have facilities where it can be treated successfully which we in Cayman do not possess.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our Governments never plan to fail. They just always fail to plan.

      So, in other words, we are up that creek with a sinking canoe and a toothpick for a padal. 

       

  22. Knot S Smart says:

    This is frightening…

  23. Anonymous says:

    Told ya…