- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 19, 2014

A lab worker who handled samples from the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. tested negative for the disease Sunday, after self-quarantining for seven days on a cruise ship, according to NBCNews.com.

The Carnival Cruise Line ship carrying the health worker, identified as a woman, never showed any signs of illness, and the ship docked in Galveston, Texas on Sunday morning, The Associated Press reported.

The cruise line said the woman was “not deemed to be a risk to any guests or crew” and that they were in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NBCNews.com reported. 

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Cruise passengers were alerted that there was a passenger who was self-monitoring and quarantining for Ebola on a loudspeaker system on the ship, which was then not allowed to dock in Cozumel, according to AP.

Petty Officer Andy Kendrick told AP that a Coast Guard crew flew in a helicopter Saturday to meet the ship and retrieved a blood sample from the woman. He said the blood sample was taken to a state lab in Austin for processing.

The health worker was initially allowed to leave on the cruise and advised to self-monitor for symptoms of Ebola. After two nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital fell ill with the disease, officials stepped up the response, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told AP.

Cruise passengers received $200 in credits and a 50 percent discount on future cruises as compensation for the missed Cozumel leg of the trip, AP reported. 

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