Crew members on board a Liberian vessel headed for New Orleans do not have Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) according to a statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday night.

Public domain map courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
Public domain map courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

CDC, along with local and federal officials, responded Wednesday to a report of illness on a ship at the Port of New Orleans. Earlier today, local EMS transferred three of the ship’s crew members to a local hospital.The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) confirmed a positive test result this evening for malaria in the patient being treated at a New Orleans-area hospital. DHH shared this information with CDC and local officials.

The other two patients had mild symptoms and are being assessed. Another ill crew member disembarked in the Bahamas two days ago, where he was diagnosed with malaria and later died. Malaria is spread by mosquitoes and does not spread from person to person. Approximately 1500-2000 cases are reported every year in the United States, almost all in recent travelers.

The ship’s itinerary included Matadi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in addition to other ports. Based on a hospital’s request, CDC conducted testing on the crew member who died, and the results showed that this crew member was negative for the type of Ebola that is causing the current outbreak in West Africa. Ebola is not suspected as a cause of the other crew members’ illnesses. No crew members had known exposures to Ebola.

The vessel has been identified as “The Marine Phoenix”. It is a refrigerated cargo vessel flagged out of the African nation of Liberia. The 20-year-old ship weighs more than 7,000 tons and has more than 400 thousand cubic feet of space.