Snyderman: "Sorry for the Concerns"

NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman, MD, apologized yesterday for breaking her agreement to stay home-sort of. Snyderman did not acknowledge that since she had contact with a cameraman who accompanied her to West Africa to report on Ebola--and who is now hospitalized with the virus-- she may have put the public's health at risk. She maintained she had done nothing wrong. But she said she was sorry everyone was worried by seeing her around town in the Princeton, NJ area.

NBC News medical editor Nancy Snyderman, MD, apologized yesterday for breaking her agreement to stay home—sort of.

Snyderman did not acknowledge that since she had contact with a cameraman who accompanied her to West Africa to report on Ebola--and who is now hospitalized with the virus-- she may have put the public’s health at risk.

She maintained she had done nothing wrong. But she said she was sorry everyone was worried by seeing her around town in the Princeton, NJ area.

“As a health professional I know that we [Snyderman and her camera crew] have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public, but I am deeply sorry for the concerns this episode caused,” she said in the statement read on NBC’s nightly news broadcast Oct. 13.

Snyderman, 62, (seen in NBC News photo) lives in Princeton. On Oct. 1, after her cameraman Ashoka Mukpo became ill, Snyderman and the other two crew members entered a voluntary agreement with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NJ state and local officials to stay inside until it could be definitively determined whether they had been infected with Ebola.

The incubation period for the virus is 21 days. But she evidently got stir-crazy.

Princeton area residents started reporting seeing her around town.

The sightings were first reported on a local website www.PlanetPrinceton.com where readers continued to post them until Princeton and New Jersey State Department of health officials placed Snyderman and her two crew members under an official quarantine through Oct. 22.

A nurse is monitoring the group’s health and the local police department is in charge of making sure the three stay put. According to a local weekly newspaper, the crew members are staying with Snyderman.

Residents voicing their reactions through Twitter have called Snyderman “selfish” and worse, for leaving her house.

Sympathizing with Snyderman, Alex Garza, MD, the former assistant secretary for health affairs with the US Department of Homeland Security, said in an interview that “As long as she’s asymptomatic, medically it was not a big deal.” Patients get more contagious as the virus multiples, and even if a patient were to start showing symptoms, the viral load would be low initially, Garza said.

Public relations-wise, however, for a physician to be seen being seen violating an agreement meant to protect the public was a disaster, he added.

“As far as appearances it wasn’t a good thing and it got hyped up when people said she’d been seen eating in a restaurant,” Garza said.

Princeton officials held a town meeting Oct. 13 to reassure residents they have the situation under control. Police have been patrolling her street hourly, and Snyderman does not have any symptoms, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert said at the meeting.