Dr. Craig Spencer, an American physician who selflessly joined Doctors Without Borders on a mission to Guinea to aid in the Ebola crisis, has been officially diagnosed with Ebola. The NYC emergency room doctor made his return to the US about a week ago after he spent some time abroad treating patients in dire need. Spencer went about his normal life for a few days in NYC until he developed a fever and diarrhea, at which point he immediately reported his symptoms to authorities so that he could be quarantined and treated accordingly.
Many NYC residents are panicking because of the contagious nature of the Ebola virus. However, experts and authorities maintain that the odds of Dr. Spencer having infected other NYC residents are extremely low. As of now, his fiancée and two friends he had spent time with upon his return to the city have been isolated and examined. Fortunately, none of them are showing signs nor experiencing symptoms of the virus.
NYC’s Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted quickly to the widespread panic and has continuously assured NYC residents that they have no reason to be alarmed. Since the virus becomes more contagious as the afflicted become increasingly ill, Dr. Spencer was not infectious until he developed his first set of symptoms. At this point, it is unclear how Dr. Spencer was exposed to the virus, as he took strict precautions throughout his time in West Africa.
The CDC has dispatched an Ebola response team to NYC in order to ensure that all health hazards and potential points of contact have been handled per protocol. Dr. Spencer personally followed all protocols set out by Doctors Without Borders once he returned home from his mission, including taking his temperature twice daily and checking in with a health official every 24 hours. Fortunately, he had not returned to work at an NYC hospital.
As of now, Dr. Spencer is in stable condition and remains isolated while he receives treatment. Officials are considering the idea that all doctors returning from missions in West Africa should isolate themselves for a period of time even in the absence of symptoms as an extra added precaution. Although “the risk [of spread] isn’t zero” according to an official in Guinea who works with Doctors Without Borders, health officials are confident that they have kept the potential for spreading in this country to a minimum.