UPDATE: Dr. Craig Spencer tested positive for Ebola Thursday evening.
A New York City doctor who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea was taken to the hospital on Thursday with Ebola-like symptoms.
The patient's name is Craig Spencer, confirmed New York City Councilman Mark Levine. Authorities are discussing evacuating Spencer's Harlem apartment building, reports Reuters.
The New York City Department of Health confirmed that a patient who had recently traveled in Africa was being tested for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after experiencing symptoms like fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. Test results are expected within the next 12 hours.
Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) confirmed that a person in New York who had recently worked with the organization in West Africa reported a fever to them Thursday morning. The organization immediately notified the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene with the news. As with all Doctors Without Borders staff who return from working with Ebola patients, the person had been monitoring his health daily since returning from his trip.
At this stage Doctors Without Borders said it will not be providing any further details about its colleague. HuffPost reached out to officials from Bellevue and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but did not receive immediate comment.
If confirmed, the patient would be the fourth person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.
See below for the full statement from the NYC Department of Health:
Today, EMS HAZ TAC Units transferred to Bellevue Hospital a patient who presented a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The patient is a health care worker who returned to the U.S. within the past 21 days from one of the three countries currently facing the outbreak of this virus.
The patient was transported by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). After consulting with the hospital and the CDC, DOHMH has decided to conduct a test for the Ebola virus because of this patient’s recent travel history, pattern of symptoms, and past work. DOHMH and HHC are also evaluating the patient for other causes of illness, as these symptoms can also be consistent with salmonella, malaria, or the stomach flu.
Preliminary test results are expected in the next 12 hours.
Bellevue Hospital is designated for the isolation, identification and treatment of potential Ebola patients by the City and State. New York City is taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers.
As a further precaution, beginning today, the Health Department’s team of disease detectives immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk. The Health Department staff has established protocols to identify, notify, and, if necessary, quarantine any contacts of Ebola cases.
The Health Department is also working closely with HHC leadership, Bellevue's clinical team and the New York State Department of Health to ensure that all staff caring for the patient do so while following the utmost safety guidelines and protocols.
Bellevue and the New York State Department of Health to ensure that all staff caring for the patient do so while following the utmost safety guidelines and protocols.
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.
This is a developing story...