He is now the fourth person to be diagnosed in the U.S. with the viral disease. President Barack Obama has been notified of his diagnosis and is being briefed on his condition, tweeted CNN reporter Shimon Prokupecz.
"There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," said NYC mayor Bill De Blasio during a late-evening press conference. "New Yorkers who have not been exposed to an infected person's bodily fluids are not at all at risk." Sharing a subway car or living near someone with Ebola does not transmit the disease, added de Blasio.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there were four people Spencer came in contact with while he was symptomatic, and that public health officials were in contact with all of them.
"We are as ready as one could be for this circumstance," added Cuomo during the press conference. "What happened in Dallas was unfortunately the exact opposite -- we had the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience."
Spencer is an international emergency medicine fellow at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, according to his LinkedIn profile. The hospital released a statement praising Spencer as a "dedicated humanitarian," reports CNN. They also assured the public that he had not reported back to work at the hospital since arriving from Guinea.
"He 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," reads part of the hospital's statement.
Even before Spencer tested positive for Ebola, public officials had begun tracing all of Spencer's contacts to determine if anyone was at risk of Ebola exposure since he arrived back in the U.S. At least one person, Spencer's girlfriend, is already under quarantine, reports CNN.
"A person in New York City, who recently worked with Doctors Without Borders in one of the Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, notified our office this morning to report having developed a fever," wrote a spokesperson, who declined to confirm Spencer's name, in an email to The Huffington Post. The organization immediately reported the information to the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Doctors Without Borders policy is that all staff self-monitor their health daily after returning home from work with Ebola patients.
Bellevue Hospital is the designated facility for the isolation, diagnosis and treatment of Ebola patients in New York City. It has four single-bed rooms that are capable of receiving confirmed Ebola cases. The area, which is located in the hospital's infectious disease ward, also has an onsite laboratory for handling Ebola samples, according to a statement released on Oct. 15.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
source: huffingtonpost.com By Andrew Hart