Doctor in New York tests positive for Ebola

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A doctor who recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for Ebola -- the first case of the deadly virus in New York City.

Here is a timeline of Craig Spencer's movements since he got back from the West African nation:

When did he return from Guinea?

Spencer came back to the United States last week after treating Ebola patients in Guinea, where he worked for Doctors Without Borders.

He completed his work in Guinea on October 12 and left the country two days later via Brussels, Belgium.

He arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport on October 17, but he exhibited no symptoms of the virus until Thursday morning, said Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, New York City's health commissioner.

The physician, who works at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, was checking his temperature twice a day. He has not seen any patients since his return.

Did he have any symptoms?

The 33-year-old did not have any symptoms after his return, but he developed a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue Thursday morning, authorities said. He began feeling sluggish a couple of days ago, but his fever spiked to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (over 38 Celsius) the day his symptoms appeared.

How many people has he been in contact with?

Spencer was in contact with four people after he started exhibiting symptoms, authorities said. Ebola isn't contagious until someone has symptoms.

Three people -- his fiancée and two friends -- are being placed on quarantine and monitored, health officials said.

Spencer also went for a 3-mile jog and visited a bowling alley in Brooklyn on Wednesday evening before feeling symptomatic, according to Bassett.

The bowling alley closed Thursday as a precaution, but it said in a statement that health officials have determined there are no risks to customers.

He also traveled on three subway lines. "At the time that the doctor was on the subway, he did not have fever ... he was not symptomatic," Bassett said. Chances of anyone contracting the virus from contact with him are "close to nil," she said.

Is the hospital equipped to handle Ebola cases?

Spencer is at New York's Bellevue Hospital, where he has been in isolation since emergency personnel took him there.

It's one of eight hospitals statewide designated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of an Ebola preparedness plan.

"We are as ready as one could be," Cuomo said. His state will be different from Texas, he said, where a Liberian man was diagnosed with Ebola and two nurses who treated him later contracted the virus. The man, Thomas Eric Duncan, later died.

"We had the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience," he said.

How will his case be different from Duncan's?

Duncan, who had flown from Liberia to Dallas, died on October 8, becoming the first person diagnosed with the disease in the United States. The two nurses are undergoing treatment, raising concerns about the nation's ability to deal with an outbreak.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city followed every protocol in its handling of Spencer's case.

For starters, Spencer was admitted to a hospital as soon as he developed symptoms, unlike Duncan, who was sent home with antibiotics the first time he went to Texas Presbyterian Hospital. He returned days later and was hospitalized.

Spencer exhibited symptoms of Ebola for "a very brief period of time" and had direct contact with "very few people" in New York, the mayor said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dispatched a team to New York to help with the case.

"We want to state at the outset there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," the mayor said.

What about his neighbors?

Spencer's Manhattan apartment has been isolated.

City Health Department workers canvassed the neighborhood, distributing information about Ebola and slipping fliers under doors, said Eugene Upshaw, who lives in Spencer's building.

The handbills, which read "Ebola: Am I at risk?" explain the disease, its symptoms and how you can get it.

"What we're doing now is just telling the folks who live here in the neighborhood that they're safe. It's safe for them to be in their buildings, it's safe for them to go to their apartments, it's safe for them to walk down the street," said Sam Miller, associate commissioner of the New York City Department of Health.

Ebola is spread by direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. The outbreak has killed nearly 5,000 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

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8 comments

  • Maggie Lin

    Thanks for bringing it to us, Craig Spencer. At least the guy in Dallas didn’t go parading around THE BIGGEST CITY IN AMERICA WHILE BEING INFECTED WITH EBOLA!

    A travel ban needed to be put in place yesterday. Unfortunately, Obama and Co. want to keep bringing these vessels in (along with the Ebola patients on board). I don’t understand their reasons, and I don’t think most Americans do either.

    To me, it seems like Obama is more concerned with looking politically correct than stopping the spread of Ebola. Banning flights is racist. Closing our borders is racist. Quarantining Africans is SUPER racist. Obama – this one is on you!

    Hey Obama – You allowed ISIS to flourish. You picked a senseless fight with Russia. You ruined health insurance. My health insurance is up to $450/month from just $200/month. My car insurance is currently only $25/month (from Insurance Panda), but who knows when Obama will try to step in and create socialized car insurance. Our country is doomed.

    Ebola needs to be stopped, and for that to happen, Obama needs to go.

    • Devan

      A travel ban is not the correct way to handle the situation. You would force the countries suffering most from Ebola to lose all support from industrialized nations with the capabilities of containing Ebola. In turn, the disease would spread even faster and actually continue it’s impact into other countries of Africa. Yes, international travel is resulting in spreading Ebola, but the United States and other industrialized countries are capable of both containing the pathogen and treating it. The other nations, unfortunately, do not have such resources, and without such support it would lead to the disease spreading like wildfire – to other nations nearby and who knows where else. While fear permits one to take such measures, it wouldn’t be the wisest move. We would put a greater risk to ourselves in turn.

  • Bill Otten

    RODE……THE……SUBWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does this idiot “doctor” realize how many people ride the subway in NYC????????? Great way to spread the Ebola around, Doc!!!! This is the very reason that I have nothing but contempt for the medical profession, with idiot doctors like this!!!! I am definitely canceling my trip to NYC next year now!

  • Asok Smith

    Well, Obama finally got the next Ebola patient zero he apparently wanted. I wonder if this will be the one to light the Ebola fire in the U.S.? If not, plenty more in West Africa where this one came from.

    BTW, think of the freak-out coming this winter when flu and Norovirus hit. Think they’ll have enough ambulances with police escorts for the millions that get sick with those this winter? Will they shut down every building, factory, bus, subway, or shopping center utilized by someone suspected (or proven to have) Ebola?

    “Now, I am not on the ballot this fall,” Obama stressed. “… But
    make no mistake: My policies are on the ballot — every single one of them.” (Including unrestricted West African air flights.)

    King Barack Hussein Obama, October 2, 2014, Northwestern University

    Thank you Obama, for your “fundamental [Ebola] transformation”. Now would you please do something to prevent more Ebola cases from arriving in the U.S. from West Africa? Obviously your current policies are not working (assuming your goal is to actually keep Ebola OUT of the U.S. as once again I cannot tell if you are unbelievably stupid or just plain evil).
    \{