NEW YORK — A Doctors Without Borders physician who recently returned from West Africa is at a New York hospital for isolation and has tested positive for Ebola, according to the New York Times.
It is New York City’s first Ebola case.
The 33-year-old physician, employed at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, developed a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue Wednesday night, a law enforcement official briefed on the matter told CNN. On Thursday morning he was taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for testing.
The doctor returned from West Africa about 10 days ago, the official said. His name is Craig Spencer, according to law enforcement officials.
The CDC had people packing up to go to New York on Thursday, and a specimen from the physician was sent soon to Atlanta for testing.
In a statement Thursday, Doctors Without Borders confirmed that the physicians recently returned from West Africa and was “engaged in regular health monitoring.” The doctor contacted Doctors Without Borders Thursday to report having a fever, the statement said.
The law enforcement official said the doctor was out in public. Authorities also quarantined his girlfriend, with whom he was spending time since his return from Africa.
The doctor began feeling sluggish a couple of days ago, but it wasn’t until Thursday, when he developed 103-degree fever, that he contacted Doctors Without Borders, the official said.
The case came to light after the New York Fire Department received a call shortly before noon Thursday about a sick person in Manhattan. The patient was taken to Bellevue.
The health department said a special ambulance unit transported a patient suffering from a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The health care worker returned to the U.S. within the past 21 days from one of the three West African countries currently facing the outbreak of the deadly virus, the health department statement said.
Bellevue Hospital is designated for the “isolation, identification and treatment of potential Ebola patients” in the city, the statement said.
“As a further precaution, beginning today (Thursday), 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 statement said.
“The chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are extremely slim,” the statement said, adding that the disease is spread by direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.
Bellevue Hospital is one of the eight hospitals statewide that Gov. Andrew Cuomo designated earlier this month as part of an Ebola preparedness plan, the state heath department said.