A NEW York doctor, who returned from treating patients in Guinea, has become the first person in the city to contract Ebola.
Craig Spencer, 33, is currently in isolation at the Manhattan Bellevue Hospital and being treated for the disease. His apartment in Harlem has been sealed off and disinfected amid fears that he has been in contact with people before he was diagnosed.
Dr Spencer arrived in New York on October 17 and reported symptoms from the disease six days later. According to reports, he travelled on the subway, went to a bowling alley and took a cab back to his apartment in Manhattan.
The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, has urged residents of New York not ‘to be alarmed’ and has asked that anyone who thinks they may have been in contact with the doctor to come forward for testing.
He said: “There was no reason for people to worry. Ebola is an extremely hard disease to contract. It is transmitted only through direct contact with infected persons’ blood or other bodily fluids.”
“Travelling on the same subway car … does not … put someone at risk.”
It is believed that two of Spencer’s friends and his fiancée are under observation in quarantine at the Bellevue hospital but so far all three have not shown any sign of the disease or tested positive. The taxi driver was not called in as he was not in close contact with the doctor.
The doctor, who was working for the ‘Doctors without Borders’ charity, had been helping with the Ebola crisis in the badly stricken West African country.
Guinea is one of the three worst-hit countries in the latest Ebola outbreak, along with Sierra Leone and Liberia. Nearly 4,900 people have died so far.
The Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged a further £80m funding in the fight against the disease.