A physician that returned to New York after treating patients for Ebola in West Africa has just tested positive for the deadly virus.
Craig Spencer, who was stationed in Guinea for 10 days with Doctors Without Borders, is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in New York City. CNN reports that he was tested for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan earlier today, where he has been held in isolation.
The doctor developed symptoms of Ebola last night as he began to suffer a fever, nausea, bodily pain and fatigue. Ebola patients are only contagious to others once they begin to experience these markers. No doubt, area citizens will estimate that Craig could potentially have exposed hundreds of people to the virus before testing positive for it himself.
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In order to keep fears in check, city officials stressed that there was only a small window for risk of infection. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference that Craig only displayed symptoms of Ebola for “a very brief time” and had direct contact with “very few people” before getting tested Thursday morning.
When not volunteering, Craig works at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and that facility assured the public that their patients were not placed in harm’s way. “He is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first,” the hospital statement said. “He has not been to work at our hospital and has not seen any patients at our hospital since his return from overseas.”
Doctors Without Borders said in a statement released today that Craig had participated in “regular health monitoring” during his mission in Guinea. Although Craig did wear protective gear during his trip, he began feeling a bit under the weather a few days ago. He contacted the medical organization today when his fever hit 103 degrees; health workers typically estimate that a temperature of 104 is the threshold at which they would be concerned about a possible case of Ebola.
Craig had been out in public before getting tested today, but the mayor said that “careful protocols were followed every step of the way” by the city of New York to stem the spread of Ebola. This has included taking Craig to the hospital in a special ambulance and placing his girlfriend in isolation.