NYC doctor bowled, jogged & used the subway before Ebola diagnosis

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) issued a statement Oct. 24 confirming Dr. Craig Spencer of New York City has been diagnosed with Ebola and affirmed the organization has strict guidelines in place for its staff members returning from Ebola assignments. | Facebook photo by Martin Zinggl/MSF

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (Christian Examiner)—Another American who contracted Ebola in West Africa was diagnosed with the virus in New York late Thursday night, Oct. 24.

Dr. Craig Spencer, 33, a physician with the charity group Doctors without Borders, is the first reported case in the highly populated New York City.

Spencer returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea Oct. 17 after completing work there Oct. 12. The physician, who had been feeling "sluggish," had been self-monitoring since his return to the U.S. and showed no symptoms until Thursday when he developed a fever, fatigue, nausea and pain.

Earlier in the day, Spencer had been going about business as usual. He ate at a restaurant, went jogging, took the subway and even went bowling.

A news conference held late Thursday by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and joined by the State Governor Andrew Cuomo provided information about the case and discouraged city-wide panic.

"We want to state at the outset there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," Mayor de Blasio said, callign the city's public health system "the world's strongest."

"We have been preparing for months for the threat posed by Ebola," de Blasio continued. "We have clear and strong protocols, which are being scrupulously followed and were followed in this instance."

The mayor noted that Bellevue Hospital, where Spencer was taken by specially trained emergency medical personnel and admitted immediately after showing symptoms, is "specially designed for isolation, identification, and treatment of Ebola patients."

Gov. Cuomo told reporters: "We are as ready as one could be. ... We had the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience."

Bellevue is among eight hospitals statewide designated by Gov. Cuomo as part of an Ebola preparedness plan.

Spencer is reported to have had close contact with only four people after his arrival in the U.S. They include his fiancee, two friends, and a cab driver.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dispatched a team to New York to help with the case.

The international humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) issued a release Oct. 24 confirming Spencer had been diagnosed with Ebola and affirmed the organization has strict guidelines in place for its staff members returning from Ebola assignments.

"Extremely strict procedures are in place for staff dispatched to Ebola affected countries before, during, and after their assignments," said Sophie Delaunay, executive director of MSF. "Despite the strict protocols, risk cannot be completely eliminated. However, close post-assignment monitoring allows for early detection of cases and for swift isolation and medical management."

Since March, 13 of the three MSF international staff members and 21 locally employed staff who have contracted the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, have died, according to the release. Investigations revealed most infections occurred outside of the MSF facilities in the countries, the release stated.

"Tragically, as we struggle to bring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa under control, some members of our staff have not been spared," Delaunay said. "Our thoughts are with our colleague in his own struggle right now, and we sincerely hope for his quick and full recovery."