After nearly a week of Ebola-free headlines, it looks like it’s back.
A Doctors Without Borders physician just returned to New York City after treating patients in Guinea. He brought the deadly virus home with him.
Dr. Craig Spencer, aged 33, returned to the US 10 days ago. He began to show symptoms on Wednesday, and was put in isolation at Bellevue Hospital this morning.
In a statement, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital said the doctor was “a dedicated humanitarian” who went to “an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population.”
“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.”
The CDC had people packing up to go to New York on Thursday, and a specimen from the physician was to be sent to Atlanta for testing, an official familiar with the situation told CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen.
Investigators took the case seriously from the outset because it appeared the doctor didn’t quarantine himself following his return, (emphasis ours) the law enforcement official said. The doctor traveled to Brooklyn and then back to Manhattan on Wednesday night, the official said.
In a statement Thursday, Doctors Without Borders confirmed that the physician recently returned from West Africa and was “engaged in regular health monitoring.” The doctor contacted Doctors Without Borders Thursday to report a fever, the statement said.
The law enforcement official said the doctor was out in public. Authorities also quarantined his girlfriend, with whom he was spending time since his return from Africa.
The doctor began feeling sluggish a couple of days ago, but it wasn’t until Thursday, when he developed 103-degree fever, that he contacted Doctors Without Borders, authorities said. (source)
The New York Times reported that Dr. Spencer had been out bowling and using public transit on Wednesday night, only hours before his Thursday morning hospital admission.
If it’s any consolation, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We want to state at the outset there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed.”
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