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New York Ebola Patient Spencer Leaves Hospital After 20 Days

Image: New York Ebola Patient Spencer Leaves Hospital After 20 Days
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio walks with Dr. Craig Spencer as he is discharged from Bellevue Hospital in New York. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Landov)

Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 11:42 AM

Craig Spencer, the New York City doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Guinea, was declared free of the virus and released from Bellevue Hospital Center after 20 days of treatment.

“Today I am healthy and no longer infectious,” Spencer said at a news briefing at the city-run hospital in Manhattan, where he was joined by by Mayor Bill de Blasio and local health officials. “My early detection, reporting and now recovery from Ebola speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols that are in place for health staff returning from West Africa.”

After being swarmed by a throng of photographers, Spencer, 33, received hugs from the mayor and his wife, Chirlane McCray.

“New York City’s first and only Ebola case: successfully treated,” said de Blasio, who called Spencer an American hero. “Dr. Spencer is Ebola-free, and New York City is Ebola-free.”

Spencer served as a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, an aid group that has sent medical professionals to fight the outbreak at its West African source. He fell ill on Oct. 23, six days after returning to New York from the outbreak zone, and was rushed to Bellevue and put in a special isolation unit.

About nine hours later, officials confirmed the infection. His treatment included brincidofovir, an experimental drug made by Chimerix Inc., as well as a blood transfusion from another Ebola survivor, which can boost virus-fighting antibodies in a patient.

Doctor Restored

“Dr. Spencer poses no public health risk,” the city’s Health and Hospitals Corp., the agency that operates Bellevue, said in an e-mail yesterday. He received a “rigorous course of treatment and testing,” the agency said.

Spencer’s fiancee remains under quarantine at home until Nov. 14. Two of Spencer’s friends who had been quarantined have since been released.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who died from Ebola on Oct. 8 in Dallas, is the only death from the disease in the U.S. Seven other Ebola patients treated at various American hospitals have survived. They include two Dallas nurses infected by Duncan, several American aid workers and a TV cameraman who got sick in West Africa and were flown home.

The Ebola outbreak, concentrated in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, has infected more than 13,000 worldwide and killed more than 4,800, according to the World Health Organization. There is no approved cure for the disease. Current standard care involves supporting the patient and using antibiotics to fight off secondary infections.

Bellevue Refitted

Bellevue, the oldest continuously operating hospital in the U.S., is one of eight hospitals designated by New York state as go-to centers to care for a potential Ebola patient. The midtown facility had upgraded its infectious-disease unit in the weeks before Spencer was admitted in preparation for a case like his.

The isolation rooms were fitted with separate air management systems and a power supply that permits the use of specialized life-support equipment, and a new laboratory was built so blood samples wouldn’t have to be transported to the hospital’s regular laboratory.

“Dr. Spencer showed us what it means to help your fellow human,” de Blasio said at the briefing. “And that spirit was met and answered here by the extraordinary team at Bellevue.”

Spencer had ventured around the city soon before he was driven to the hospital with Ebola symptoms. He rode the subway, ate at a meatball restaurant and visited a bowling alley. In the days after he went to Bellevue, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention toughened its guidelines for people with direct exposure to the virus, saying they should be isolated in their homes for 21 days.

Outside of Spencer’s apartment on 147th Street and Broadway in Manhattan today, city health officials were handing out flyers titled “Ebola: Am I at Risk?” that are designed to make people aware of how the disease is transmitted. In the past four weeks, the city has handed out almost 4,000 of them, said Javier Lopez, who works for the Health Department.

“Things are pretty calm around here,” he said. “So I think we did a good job.”


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Craig Spencer, the New York City doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Guinea, was declared free of the virus and released from Bellevue Hospital Center after 20 days of treatment."Today I am healthy and no longer infectious," Spencer said at a news...
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Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 11:42 AM
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