A physician working with Doctors Without Borders who returned home to New York City after treating Ebola patients in Africa has now tested positive for the virus.
Dr. Craig Spencer, 33, is now in isolation at Bellevue Hospital. Officials hosted a press conference on Thursday night in an attempt to calm fears about the spread of the disease in the United States, Reuters reported.
After working in Guinea, one of the hardest-hit nations, Spencer developed a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms of the virus. A trained team equipped with protective gear transported Spencer to Bellevue from his apartment in Manhattan on Thursday.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Bill de Blasio” author_title=”New York City Mayor”]We are prepared to quarantine contacts as necessary. Medical detectives are at work putting together pieces of the timeline. Let’s be clear. Ebola is very hard to contract being on a subway car or being near someone who has the disease. [/quote]
Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the instance is “lucky” as Spencer is a doctor experienced in treating Ebola patients who understands how the virus works. According to Cuomo, four people are suspected of being in contact with Spencer and may be at risk. Health officials have contacted all four people, the Boston Herald reported.
According to city officials, Spencer said that he rode the subway and took a cab to a bowling alley in Brooklyn the last week before he displayed symptoms. Although Dr. Spencer works at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, he has not seen patients or visited the hospital since his return to the U.S.
A timeline shows that Spencer began developing symptoms on Wednesday, which prompted him to isolate himself at home. When his symptoms worsened on Thursday, he contacted authorities and provided details of his travel and symptoms. EMTs in Ebola gear then transported him to the hospital, Fox News reported.
Spencer’s apartment has been cordoned off and his fiance, who has not shown symptoms, has been placed in a quarantine ward at Bellevue as well. Bellevue Hospital is one of eight Governor Cuomo has designated to treat Ebola in New York.