World / US and Canada

NYC hospital testing doctor for Ebola virus

(Agencies) Updated: 2014-10-24 07:39

A physician who recently returned from West Africa was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City on Thursday and placed in isolation while doctors await the return of tests to determine whether he has the Ebola virus.

New York Mayor Bill deBlasio said the results of the tests will not be known until late Thursday, but city health authorities are concerned about the possibility that he has the virus and are seeking to contact anyone who might have come into contact with the man in recent days. He was identified by city officials as Dr. Craig Spencer, who lives in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood.

The mayor told a news conference Thursday evening that Spencer has given health workers a detailed accounting of his activities over the last few days.

"Our understanding is that very few people were in direct contact with him," Mr. de Blasio said.

Spencer took the subway to Brooklyn and went to a bowling alley there on Wednesday evening, according to a city official, and then took a taxi home.

Spencer works for New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which released a statement on Thursday night saying "he has not been to work at our hospital and has not seen any patients at our hospital since his return from overseas."

Spencer had been working with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, treating Ebola patients, before he returned to New York City on Oct 14, according to a city official. He told the authorities that he did not believe the protective gear he wore while working with Ebola patients had been breached.

According to news reports, Spencer began to feel sluggish on Tuesday but did not develop a fever until Thursday morning, he told the authorities. At 11 am, the doctor found that he had a 103-degree temperature and alerted the staff of Doctors Without Borders, according to the official.

The staff of Doctors Without Borders called the city's health department. Emergency medical workers in  full protective gear went to Spencer's apartment on West 147th Street. He was transported to Bellevue and arrived shortly after 1 pm.

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