A New York City doctor who recently returned from West Africa has been infected with Ebola, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed on Thursday. The doctor is the fourth person in the United States to have been tested positive for the disease.
“We want to state at the outset there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed,” the mayor said, but health officials are trying to trace every step taken by the doctor, identified as 33-year-old Craig Spencer, who had been treating Ebola patients in Guinea while working with Doctors Without Borders.
Ebola can be fatal but it is contagious only when someone comes into contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. However, he went bowling in Brooklyn Wednesday night and traveled in an Uber car, raising fears that others might have been infected.
His girlfriend, Morgan Dixon, has been put in isolation.
“I know it’s a frightening situation … but the more facts you know, the less frightening this situation is,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Dr. Spencer felt weak on Tuesday but did not develop serious symptoms of Ebola until Thursday, when he was rushed to New York’s Bellevue Hospital and was determined to be seriously ill.
New York City’s health commissioner said he had tried to “self-isolate’ himself,” but the bowling event exposed him to an unknown number of people.
He was taken to the hospital by paramedics dressed in full protective gear.
Officials are taking every caution possible to prevent contamination, having learned lessons from the case of Thomas Duncan, who died from Ebola in Texas. The protective suits of the paramedics were sprayed with disinfectants and then cut off, and the ambulance also was decontaminated.
Dr. Spencer is being treated in a locked and guarded unit at Bellevue.
The video below shows crews in protective suits at Bellevue Hospital.