Ebola Confirmed in NYC Doc

New York City has its first case of Ebola, confirmed tonight in Craig Spencer, MD, an emergency medicine specialist who recently returned from a volunteer stint caring for Ebola patients in Guinea, Africa for Doctors Without Borders. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a statement earlier today that Spencer, who works at New York Hospital/Columbia-Presbyterian in Manhattan had been rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center after he became ill with a high fever and gastro-intestinal symptoms. Mayor Bill Blasio provided further details at a news conference this evening.

New York City has its first case of Ebola, confirmed tonight in Craig Spencer, MD, an emergency medicine specialist who recently returned from a volunteer stint caring for Ebola patients in Guinea, Africa, with Doctors Without Borders.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a statement earlier today confirming that Spencer, who works at New York Hospital/Columbia-Presbyterian in Manhattan, had been rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center after he became ill with a high fever and gastro-intestinal symptoms. Mayor Bill de Blasio provided further details at a news conference this evening. Bellevue is the designated hospital for treating Ebola victims in the city 's 911 system.

At the conference, health officials said Spencer's fiancee has been quarantined at Bellevue and that a bowling alley in Brooklyn that Spencer had visited with friends on Wednesday night had been closed. City health officials plan to visit it today.

Spencer's movements over the past two days are being traced, using data from his Metro card, and contact tracing began earlier today.

The US Centers for Disease COntrol and PRevention (CDC) has sent an Ebola team to New York and CDC.

The initial test which confirmed his illness was done by the city health department.

City officials rushed to reassure residents, saying they believed Spencer's viral load was not high enough for him to have spread the disease before he was hospitalized. Earlier the health department said there was almost no risk to the general public.

There was no information available on exactly how he contracted the virus, but health officials said Spencer had been using personal protection equipment (PPE) as instructed. In a photo on his facebook page, Spencer is wearing goggles as part of his PPE. This week in the US, the CDC changed its recommendations on PPE for Ebola to using a disposable hood, since there has been concern that the Ebola virus could enter the body through contact with the mucous membrane under the eyelid when a wearer adjusts googles.

According to City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, MD, Spencer arrived back in New York on Oct. 17 after spending a few days in Europe on his way back from Guinea.

He is seen here in his LinkedIn photo.