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Texas lab worker quarantined on cruise ship over Ebola concern, US officials say

A woman who handled a lab specimen from Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, who died last week, is currently on board a ship in the Caribbean.

Obama administration officials said a Dallas health care worker who handled a lab specimen from a Liberian man who died from Ebola is self-quarantined on a Caribbean cruise ship and is being monitored for infection.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Friday that the woman had shown no signs of the disease and has been asymptomatic for 19 days.

The government is working to return the woman and her husband to the US before the ship, the Carnival Magic, completes its cruise. The White House said the State Department was working to secure their transportation home.

An administration official who was not authorized to be named and requested anonymity said the cruise ship had stopped in Belize but officials there would not allow the passenger to leave the vessel.

Psaki said that when the woman left the US on the cruise ship from Galveston, Texas, on Oct. 12 health officials were requiring only self-monitoring.

One official said it's believed the woman poses no risk but health-care authorities want to get her off the cruise ship and back to the United States out of an abundance of caution.

There have been no restrictions placed on other passengers aboard the ship.

Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement that the woman, a lab supervisor, remained in isolation "and is not deemed to be a risk to any guests or crew."

"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 statement said. The CDC is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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