Update: Today, Dr. Craig Allen Spencer was discharged from Bellevue Hospital after some 19 days of treatment there for Ebola, which he had contracted through his medical work in Guinea. "Since I was admitted on October 23, I have received an exceptional level of medical care, support, and encouragement," Dr. Spencer stated at a press conference at Bellevue this morning, reading from a statement released in conjunction with his organization, Doctors Without Borders. "Today, I am healthy and no longer infectious."
Now that nurses Amber Vinson and Nina Pham have fully recovered from their cases of Ebola as well, the U.S. is Ebola-free. The nurses contracted the disease at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. and who later died from the disease.
Dr. Spencer's recovery is "a milestone in showing that our strategy of identifying, isolating and treating Ebola can be successful," stated Ron Klain, the "Ebola Czar" recently appointed by President Obama. Klain added that he will be putting pressure on Congress to dedicate upwards of $6 billion to the fight against Ebola abroad. America may be Ebola-free, but with some 5,000 Ebola deaths reported in West Africa so far and mortality rates continuing to rise in some areas, the emergency is far from over.
Update: Mayor Bill de Blasio has just spoken at a press conference at Bellevue Hospital to deliver news on New York City's response to its first case of Ebola. The patient, Dr. Craig Allen Spencer, was rushed yesterday to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and was diagnosed with Ebola last night. Spencer is in stable condition. "There is no cause for alarm, " the mayor stated. "This situation is being handled, and handled well." He cited the "months of training and preparation" that had made city employees and hospital staffers ready to respond to a case of Ebola in New York City.
Authorities have stressed that Dr. Spencer is very unlikely to have been contagious before yesterday morning, when he developed a low-grade fever sometime between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. He measured his temperature at 100.3 degrees, after which he contacted health authorities and was rushed to Bellevue by EMTs in full protective gear. Dr. Spencer reported that he felt fatigue for a day or two prior to yesterday. This week, he took the subway and an Uber; he also spent time on the High Line and at The Gutter, a bowling alley in Williamsburg that has been shut down for the time being. The city health department's team of disease detectives is currently in the process of retracing Dr. Spencer's steps over recent days. "The patient's fiancée is being quarantined," de Blasio stated, as are two of his friends. "And we are, as always, looking at each individual contact and determining when quarantine is necessary," de Blasio added. No other Ebola cases have been reported in New York City.
"We’ve made clear all the things that Ebola is not, all the ways it does not transmit," de Blasio said, "but that still doesn’t mean people cannot do something to help in this crisis." Specifically, if you or someone you know has traveled to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone within the past 21 days, he said, and is experiencing fever or other symptoms, it's imperative to either call 911 or go directly to a hospital emergency room. All New Yorkers should receive flu shots, since the symptoms of flu can be mistaken for those of Ebola and it's crucial that city medical teams "not have to deal with something that falsely indicates Ebola."
Original Story: The first case of Ebola in New York City has just been confirmed. Craig Allen Spencer, MD, a 33-year-old health worker who recently returned from the West African nation of Guinea, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan earlier today by EMTs in full protective gear. He had been suffering from a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms, and has been in quarantine since arrival at the hospital.
Spencer recently returned from treating Ebola in Africa through the organization Doctors Without Borders. He entered the U.S. through JFK airport on October 17 via a connection in Brussels, Belgium. New York City's Health Department has started to trace the people with whom Dr. Spencer has had contact since his return. He is the fourth Ebola patient to be diagnosed in the States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is dispatching a dedicated team to NYC to help care for Dr. Spencer. We'll have more on this story as it develops.
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