A doctor who recently returned from West Africa tested positive for Ebola on Thursday evening. He is being treated and is in isolation at Bellevue Hospital.
Craig Spencer, who lives on 147th Street in West Harlem, recently returned from a Doctors Without Borders trip, according to the organization.
“Ebola is very difficult to contract,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference on Thursday night, announcing the test results.
The health department said earlier in the day that they were testing a patient who was experiencing a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. They said Spencer recently returned to the U.S. from a West African country with an Ebola outbreak during the past 21 days.
A emergency team wearing protective gear transported the doctor to Bellevue Hospital, which was previously designated for any potential Ebola patients.
Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed Thursday that emergency responders and Spencer followed “careful protocols.”
De Blasio said very few people have come in contact with the doctor, who has been “precise” with investigating officials on whom he has been in contact with. De Blasio said a decision hasn’t been made on whether to quaratine any other people.
State and federal teams are en route, according to Council Member Mark Levine’s office, and officials are working to identify who Spencer has come in contact with since returning from West Africa.
Levine is urging New Yorkers to call 311 if they think they might have been in contact with Spencer, or for more information on the virus.
A health department release said: “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 Spencer’s LinkedIn page, he is a fellow of international emergency medicine at Columbia University