Friday, October 17, 2014

Belize Denies Carnival Cruise Ship Entry After Ebola Quarantine

UPDATE:  Lab Worker Aboard Cruise Ship Tests Negative For Ebola Virus

A supervisor of the Texas lab that handled samples from a Liberian man who died after contracting the Ebola virus is being quarantined aboard the Carnival Cruise ship Carnival Magic.   The Carnival Magic was destined for Belize with 3,652 passengers and 981 crew members aboard - but was not allowed to port into Belize City by the Belize Coast Guard, the Belizean reported

"Late afternoon on Wednesday, Oct. 15., we were made aware by the U.S. CDC of a guest sailing this week on board Carnival Magic who is a lab supervisor at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital," Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement this morning.  "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. She is deemed by CDC to be very low risk. At this time, the guest remains in isolation on board the ship and is not deemed to be a risk to any guests or crew. It is important to reiterate that the individual has no symptoms and has been isolated in an extreme abundance of caution. We are in close contact with the CDC and at this time it has been determined that the appropriate course of action is to simply keep the guest in isolation on board."

The recent spread of the Ebola virus in the U.S. and abroad is starting to affect the tourism and travel industry as potential travelers and vacationers re-think their future travel plans.

The cruise ship industry and their related stocks are being hit particularly hard despite a drop in fuel prices.  Carnival Cruise Line stock has been under pressure for the past few weeks after the cruise giant had to change itineraries due to Ebola outbreaks in west Africa. Airline stocks are also taking a tumble due to passenger fears of contracting travel-related Ebola.   

"I think that cruise ships might be the most vulnerable of the travel and leisure cohort, maybe even more than airplanes, which themselves have a huge problem. It's simply disruptive to their business," said CNBC financial commentator Jim Cramer.

Ebola Facts:

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.  The average fatality rate is around 50%.  

The virus was originally transmitted to people in Africa from non-human primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees) and then spread into the human population through human-to-human transmission. 

The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history. There have been cases reported in the U.S., Spain, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

Although some cruise ships have a ship's registry in West Africa, this does not neccesarily mean that the ship has recently traveled to West Africa.

There is no FDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola.

The CDC recommends the following tips to prevent Ebola contamination:
  • Practice careful hygiene. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids (such as clothes, bedding, needles, and medical equipment).
  • Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, and raw meat prepared from non-human primates.