NYC Ebola Patient Craig Spencer Is Cured

by Abby Johnston

Doctors at Bellevue Hospital Center announced Tuesday that Dr. Craig Spencer, the first person to test positive for Ebola in NYC, had recovered and was not a danger to the public. Spencer, who was admitted to Bellevue after spending five weeks in Guinea, had been in the hospital for almost three weeks. And just to prove it, he got a big "mayoral hug" from NYC Major Bill de Blasio at a press conference on Tuesday.

In a press conference, Spencer recounted his experience caring for patients in Guinea, crying when he couldn't save them and rejoicing with their families when one recovered. He praised the treatment that he received and urged attention to refocus on West Africa and containing the Ebola outbreak in high-risk countries.

My early detection, reporting, and now recovery from Ebola speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols that are in place for health staff returning from West Africa. While my case has garnered international attention, it is important to remember that my case represents but a fraction of the more than 13,000 reported cases to date in West Africa.

Spencer, who had been working with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, was admitted on Oct. 23 with a 100.3 degree fever. Although he was isolated just hours after a blood test confirmed that he had the virus, Spencer's infection put the city on edge. In the days before he went to the hospital, Spencer rode in an Uber, on the Subway, went bowling, and went out to eat. Two of the doctor's friends have already been released, but his fiancée will remain in quarantine until Nov. 14.

Again and again officials and Spencer asked the public not to put a stigma on health care workers who have cared for Ebola patients. Spencer emphasized the importance of volunteers fighting Ebola at its source. Spencer's clean bill of health means that the U.S. has no diagnosed cases of Ebola, although there are many citizens both in and out of the country who are still under observation. There is currently a group of American soldiers being held in Vicenza, Italy, while returning from Liberia.

Mali, Guinea, Spain, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have all had confirmed cases of the virus. Ebola has claimed 4,818 lives worldwide as of Nov. 5.

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