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New York Doctor Diagnosed With Ebola

October 24, 2014

new yorkJosi Ensor, The Daily Telegraph, October 24, 2014

A doctor who recently returned to the US from treating Ebola patients in West Africa has become the fourth person in the country to be diagnosed with the disease.

Craig Spencer, 33, who returned from Guinea nine days ago, was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan presenting a fever and diarrhea.

Initial tests for the disease returned positive, according to city officials.

Dr Spencer had been working for a month with Doctors without Borders in Guinea - one of three West African nations hardest hit by Ebola.

He arrivied back in the US on Oct. 14 on a flight that stopped in Brussels.

RELATED: Ebola Scare Prompts Caribbean Islands to Begin Issuing Travel Bans

He began to feel ill on Tuesday but did not develop a fever until Thursday morning, when he informed the authorities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises those returning from Ebola-hit countries to monitor their health for a 21-day incubation period, remoting any symptoms to authorities.

Bill de Blasio, the city's mayor, confirmed Dr Spencer's positive test at a late-night press conference, but urged residents not to panic, insisting the city was fully prepared to stop the disease in its tracks.

"We want to state at the outset, (this) is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed. Ebola is an extremely hard disease to contract. It is transmitted only through contact with an infected person's blood or other bodily fluids," said Mr de Blasio.

“Being on the same subway car or living near a person with Ebola does not in itself put someone at risk,” he said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said city officials had already identified four people believed to have crossed paths with Dr Spencer, and said he did not expect a repeat of the situation in Dallas, where hospital staff appeared to have been caught off-guard by the arrival of the disease that has killed almost 4,900 people in West Africa.

"Dallas was caught before they could really prepare. We had the advantage of learning from their experience," he said.

Dr Spencer’s apartment in Harlem was sealed off and medical staff arrived wearing hazmat suits to take him to hospital.

It emerged he travelled from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the subway on Wednesday night, when he went to a bowling alley and then took an Uber taxi home.

His fiancee and two friends, with whom he has had close contact, are healthy and being quarantined, while the taxi driver is not considered to be at risk.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center said the doctor was on its staff but had not been to work there since returning from Africa.

"He is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first," it said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with him, and we wish him all the best at this time."

Health officials say the chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are slim.

Bellevue Hospital has been designated the city's main venue for handling Ebola cases. It has dozens of staff members at the ready and four isolation rooms that can quickly expand to 20 if needed.

Ebola, which is spread through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, has killed thousands of people in Africa. Only four people have been diagnosed in the US.

One, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian, has since died.

One nurse, Amber Vinson, who tested positive for the virus has since been declared Ebola free and Nina Pham’s condition has been upgraded from fair to good.

Meanwhile six West Africans who recently arrived in the United states have been placed under a 21-day quarantine at West Haven, Connecticut.

Confirmation of the New York case came just hours after Mali reported its first confirmed case of the disease, when a two-year-old girl who had recently been in Guinea tested positive for the virus.

Mali has become the sixth West African country to be affected by the disease.


This article was written by Josie Ensor US correspondent from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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