A doctor tested positive for Ebola in New York City after returning from a trip treating the disease in Guinea, the Associated Press reports.
Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old Doctors Without Borders physician and emergency room doctor, was brought to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan Thursday after reporting a 103-degree fever. Spencer is currently being treated in an isolation ward within the hospital.
Spencer is the first diagnosed Ebola patient for New York and the fourth confirmed case in the United States.
Bellevue Hospital released a statement Thursday afternoon after Spencer’s transfer, but before confirmation of his diagnosis:
Today, EMS HAZ TAC Units transferred to Bellevue Hospital a patient who presented a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The patient is a health care worker who returned to the U.S. within the past 21 days from one of the three countries currently facing the outbreak of this virus.
The patient was transported by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). After consulting with the hospital and the CDC, DOHMH has decided to conduct a test for the Ebola virus because of this patient’s recent travel history, pattern of symptoms, and past work. DOHMH and HHC are also evaluating the patient for other causes of illness, as these symptoms can also be consistent with salmonella, malaria, or the stomach flu.
Preliminary test results are expected in the next 12 hours.
Bellevue Hospital is designated for the isolation, identification and treatment of potential Ebola patients by the City and State. New York City is taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers.
As a further precaution, beginning today, the Health Department’s team of disease detectives immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk. The Health Department staff has established protocols to identify, notify, and, if necessary, quarantine any contacts of Ebola cases.
The Health Department is also working closely with HHC leadership, Bellevue’s clinical team and the New York State Department of Health to ensure that all staff caring for the patient do so while following the utmost safety guidelines and protocols.
The chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are extremely slim. Ebola is spread by directly touching the bodily fluids of an infected person. You cannot be infected simply by being near someone who has Ebola.