Health Care Worker in New York City Tests Positive for Ebola

bellevue
The front entrance of Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Updated | A health care worker who recently returned from Guinea, one of the three countries most affected by the Ebola virus in West Africa, tested positive for the Ebola virus after he was taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan on Thursday, according to The New York Times.

The 33-year-old was transported to Bellevue Hospital by a team wearing Personal Protective Equipment on Thursday afternoon, according to a statement by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The health care worker was not named by the Health Department but was identified as Dr. Craig Spencer by New York City Councilman Mark Levine, according to a Reuters report. Spencer is believed to have returned to the United States ten days ago and worked with Doctors Without Borders caring for Ebola patients.

Spencer reported to officials on Thursday around noon that he had a fever, according to The Wall Street Journal. He told officials that he had isolated himself inside an apartment in West Harlem. Soon after, the NYPD and the FDNY deployed ambulances and police vehicles that brought him to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. His apartment has been sealed off by police and authorities are considering evacuating the building, according to Levine.

Bellevue is one of eight New York State hospitals designated to take Ebola patients.

Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are the countries most affected by the virus, which has so far infected almost 10,000 people and killed almost 5,000, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization. On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that from October 27, all travelers from those three countries would be monitored for 21 days after their arrival in the U.S.

The Health Department is currently tracing anyone who may have had contact with the patient for potential risk. The New York Times reported that Spencer is believed to have taken the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn, visited a bowling alley and taken a taxi home on Wednesday night. According to CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, the CDC was on their way to Bellevue to help out with the possible Ebola case. The CDC will confirm the result with their own test, the Times reported.

The Health Department tried to allay fears Thursday, tweeting that "the chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are extremely slim."

The news comes two days after hundreds of NYC health care workers attended an intensive training session on Ebola infection control procedures.

"A very careful protocol has been in place for weeks now. That protocol was followed," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was quoted on his office's Twitter account as saying.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Health Care Worker in New York City Tests Positive for Ebola | U.S.
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