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Doctor in New York City Tests Positive for Ebola

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Thursday morning, Dr. Craig Spencer had a fever. He had recently returned from Guinea, where he had been treating Ebola patients with Doctors Without Borders. By Thursday night, he was quarantined and receiving specialized treatment himself: he was diagnosed with Ebola.

Dr. Craig Spencer
LinkedIn/Craig Spencer

Spencer is the first American case of Ebola outside of Texas. Officials say it is unlikely that he transmitted the disease to anyone else. He was not symptomatic until Thursday morning, which would mean that he was not yet contagious. Nevertheless, at least three people he came into contact with—his fiancée and two friends—have been isolated as a precaution.

Bellevue Hospital, where Spencer is located now, has been preparing for weeks in case an Ebola incident occurred in the city, as was ordered by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Doctors there have been performing drills and doing test runs on fake Ebola patients.

Spencer did travel by subway on Wednesday night to Brooklyn to go to a bowling alley. He took a cab back home, but the driver of the cab is not believed to be in any danger, as he did not come into direct contact with Spencer.

Governor Cuomo, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, held a press conference Thursday night to go over what details they could and to reassure New Yorkers that they do not have to fear any kind of outbreak. “We want to state at the outset, there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed,” said De Blasio. “Ebola is a very hard disease to contract.”

“The goal now is to make sure people don’t panic,” said Bassett.

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