A Doctors Without Borders physician who recently returned to New York City after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus, according to preliminary test results, city officials said Thursday. He's the fourth confirmed case in the U.S. and the first in the nation's biggest city.
A further test by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will confirm the initial test results.
A law enforcement official and a City official received notification of the preliminary test results and told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Thursday night but weren't authorized to discuss the case publicly before a city news conference.
Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old emergency room doctor, returned from Guinea more than a week ago and reported Thursday coming down with a 103-degree fever and diarrhea. He was rushed to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center, and was being treated in a specially built isolation ward.
The CDC has dispatched an Ebola response team to New York, and the city's disease detectives have been tracing the doctor's contacts to identify anyone who may be at risk.
City officials say Spencer acknowledged riding the subway and taking a cab to a Brooklyn bowling alley in the past week before he started showing symptoms.
His Harlem apartment was cordoned off, and his fiancee, who was not showing symptoms, was being watched in a quarantine ward at Bellevue. The Department of Health was on site across the street from the apartment building Thursday night, giving out information to area residents.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said proper protocols were followed every step of the way and it didn't appear the doctor had been showing symptoms for very long.
"The patient is in good shape and has gone into a great deal of detail with our personnel as to his actions the last few days so we have a lot to work with," de Blasio said earlier in the day. "We have a patient who has been very communicative and precise and who has only been back a very short time and has been quite clear about individuals he had close contact with."