As you are likely aware, there is a cruise ship due back in Galveston on Sunday that has a passenger that is a lab supervisor at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas. Officials at the Dallas hospital have said that this individual did not have any direct contact with any patients there who were being treated for Ebola. In addition, the person on the cruise ship at no time has exhibited any symptoms or signs of infection. It has been 20 days since this person was in the Dallas hospital’s lab testing samples. Twenty-one days is the maximum incubation period for the Ebola virus.
Although this patient is at extremely low risk for developing infection and remains symptom free, we understand that there are concerned passengers on board. Therefore, we convened our emergency command leadership group and are coordinating with local and area officials to address questions and concerns that passengers may have. As a result, we will have an onsite presence to answer questions and concerns of the passengers and crew as they disembark. We believe that this plan was critical in order to assure that UTMB’s emergency room remains available for patients who are truly ill and need our services.
UTMB employees, as always, have risen to the occasion. We have a group of volunteer physicians, advanced practice nurses, and nurses who will be at the cruise ship center tomorrow to provide written information and answer questions for passengers disembarking the cruise ship. We will provide additional information if the situation develops further. Thanks for all you do to serve and support UTMB.
Dr. David L. Callender