Yesterday it was announced that a doctor in New York City has been infected with the Ebola virus.
Dr. Craig Spencer, 3,, is a New York emergency physician who recently worked with Doctors Without Borders treating patients in West Africa according to USA Today. Currently, Spencer is on staff at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center, though the hospital released a statement citing that Spencer has not been at work since returning from Africa.
“He [Spencer] is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first. He has not been to work at our hospital and has not seen any patients at our hospital since his return from overseas. Our thoughts are with him, and we wish him all the best at this time.”
When did Dr. Spencer return from Africa, and what has he been doing since it was confirmed that he was infected with the Ebola virus?
According to Dr. Spencer’s Facebook page, he left for West Africa via Brussels in mid-September. Reports say that a photo shows the doctor in full protective gear. Spencer returned to Brussels on October 16. Spencer wrote the following message before his departure to Africa.
“Off to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders. 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.”
Spencer landed at Kennedy Airport in New York on October 17. Officials say that his temperature was normal when he landed. However, as a result of the Ebola virus, the doctor’s temperature spiked to 103 degrees by yesterday morning, when he was rushed to Bellevue Hospital.
The New York Daily News is reporting that between last week, when Spencer returned to his residence in Harlem, and yesterday, when he was hospitalized, he visited several places of note.
Reportedly, Craig Spencer went bowling in Williamsburg, visited Manhattan’s High Line park, and used both Uber cars and the subway to get around. The subway lines he used were the No. 1, A and L trains for transportation.
CNN reports that the CDC has only placed three individuals into quarantine as a result of the Ebola-infected doctor’s movements: his fiancé and two of his close friends.
The bowling alley that Spencer visited was closed yesterday as a precaution.
Health authorities say that an Ebola-infected person isn’t infectious until they start exhibiting symptoms. They say that Spencer only had contact with four people since exhibiting symptoms. Three of those are the above mentioned people in quarantine, and the fourth was a car driver that Spencer didn’t have contact with. Health authorities say that man “is not at risk.”
Sam Miller, associate commissioner at New York City department of health, says that Spencer’s apartment has been isolated and all nearby residents have been educated.
“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.”
After the Ebola-protocol breakdowns in Dallas, Texas, the reassuring words of health officials don’t seem to be carrying much weight with New York City residents.
[Image via Wired New York, CNN]