NYC Doctor Checks Into Hospital With Ebola Symptoms After Returning From West Africa
Uh-oh. Did NYC get its first case of Ebola on Thursday? A doctor who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea was rushed to a Manhattan hospital after reporting Ebola symptoms. The Post reported that Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old Doctors Without Borders physician, had a 103 degree fever (the same temperature as Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola casualty in the U.S) and nausea.
The New York City Department of Health confirmed in a press statement that a patient "who returned to the U.S. within the past 21 days from one of the three countries currently facing the outbreak of this virus" was checked into Bellevue Hospital. According to CBS 2, members from the emergency medical services entered Spencer's apartment clad in Hazmat suits.
Spencer returned home from Guinea 10 days ago, and reportedly felt ill on Thursday when he called 911. The FDNY has sealed off a section of the Harlem neighborhood where Spencer resided in his fifth-floor apartment. CBS 2 also said that according to sources, Spencer went bowling in Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn known for being a hipster mecca, the night before, and "took an Uber car to get there and back" — although it didn't mention who these "sources" were.
The NYC DOH said that preliminary test results will be expected within 12 hours. Spencer is also being tested for malaria, salmonella and stomach flu — diseases that share similar symptoms to Ebola. New York Daily News noted that Spencer had posted a photo of himself on Facebook while in Brussels, Belgium, wearing protective gear. Brussels is a common layover for flights from the U.S. to Guinea, or Sierra Leone and Liberia, two other countries struggling to combat the outbreak. The caption read:
Off to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Please support organizations that are sending support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history.
Bellevue Hospital is one of eight hospitals in New York state with specialized Ebola units, according to CBS 2. The statement from the NYC DOH said it was taking "all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers," adding:
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.
It went on to assure New Yorkers that their chances of contracting Ebola are "extremely slim." Contrary to media histrionics, you can't contract it just by being in the same room as someone with Ebola. Ebola is transmitted by touching the of bodily fluids of someone who has the virus.
Images: NBC New York, CBS 2 (Screenshot)