-Just returned from working in Guinea.




A doctor, who worked in West Africa with Ebola patients, was in an isolation unit in New York City on Friday after testing positive for the virus, becoming the fourth person diagnosed with the disease in the United States and the first in its largest city. Dr. Craig Spencer, 33, was quarantined at Bellevue Hospital on Thursday, six days after returning from Guinea, unnerving financial markets amid concern the disease may spread in the nation’s most populous city of New York. The three previous cases were in Texas. Three people who had close contact with Spencer, a physician for the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders, were quarantined for observation. The doctor’s fiancée was among them and quarantined at the same hospital, and all three were still healthy, officials said.

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has killed at least 4,877 people and perhaps as many as 15,000, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to World Health Organization figures. WHO set out plans Friday for speeding up development and deployment of experimental vaccines, saying hundreds of thousands of doses should be ready for use in West Africa by the middle of next year.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, sought to reassure New Yorkers they were safe, even though Spencer had ridden subways, taken a taxi and visited a bowling alley between his return from Guinea and the onset of his symptoms. “There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed,” de Blasio said at a news conference at Bellevue. “Being on the same subway car or living near someone with Ebola does not in itself put someone at risk.” Cuomo said that unlike in Dallas, where two hospital nurses treating an Ebola patient contracted the disease, New York officials had time to thoroughly prepare and drill for the possibility of a case emerging in the city. “From a public health point of view, I feel confident that we’re doing everything that we should be doing, and we have the situation under control,” he said. Four Ebola cases have been diagnosed so far in the United States: Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, two nurses who treated him there, and now Spencer.

After taking his own temperature twice a day since his return, Spencer reported running a fever and experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms for the first time early on Thursday. He was then taken from his Manhattan apartment to Bellevue by a special team wearing protective gear, city officials said. Cuomo said Spencer checked into the hospital when he realized he had a temperature of 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit, “not 103 as has been reported,” suggesting he may have caught the onset of symptoms early.

Owners of the bowling alley he visited said they had voluntarily closed it for the day as a precaution. The driver of the taxi Spencer took was not considered to be at risk, and officials insisted the three subway lines he rode before falling ill remained safe. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will confirm Spencer’s test results within 24 hours, she said.

Spencer’s case brings to nine the total number of people treated for Ebola in U.S. hospitals since August, but just two, Duncan’s nurses, contracted the virus in the United States. The New York case surfaced days after dozens of people who were exposed to Duncan emerged from a 21-day incubation period with clean bills of health, easing a national sense of crisis that took hold when his nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, became infected. As New Yorkers headed to work on Friday, some were unfazed by the news, while others said it added to their anxieties about the perils of living in a crowded city. Health officials emphasized that the virus is not airborne but is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person who is showing symptoms.

The city health commissioner said Spencer completed work in Guinea on October 12 and arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on October 17.The CDC did not name Spencer but said he “participated in the enhanced screening” instituted for all travelers returning from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone this month at five major U.S. airports – including Kennedy.

Extracted and modified from Yahoo News


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