A Doctors Without Borders health-care worker who was treating Ebola patients in Africa within the last three weeks was rushed to the hospital on Thursday and is being tested for the virus "because of this patient’s recent travel history, pattern of symptoms, and past work," the city announced in a statement this afternoon. The individual, identified by the New York Post as Dr. Craig Spencer of Harlem, was suffering from "a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms," although the statement cautions that "these symptoms can also be consistent with salmonella, malaria, or the stomach flu." Update: Spencer has tested positive for Ebola, making him the city’s first diagnosed case.
Here’s the rest of the notice, for those hyperventilating:
Preliminary test results are expected in the next 12 hours.
Bellevue Hospital is designated for the isolation, identification and treatment of potential Ebola patients by the City and State. New York City is taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers.
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.
The Health Department is also working closely with HHC leadership, Bellevue’s clinical team and the New York State Department of Health to ensure that all staff caring for the patient do so while following the utmost safety guidelines and protocols.
Bellevue and the New York State Department of Health to ensure that all staff caring for the patient do so while following the utmost safety guidelines and protocols.
The chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are extremely slim. Ebola is spread by directly touching the bodily fluids of an infected person. You cannot be infected simply by being near someone who has Ebola.
According to the Post, the 33-year-old doctor “had been treating Ebola patients in Guinea.”