- Dr Craig Spencer, 33, who returned to the U.S. from Guinea, was admitted to Bellevue Hospital on Thursday
- He flew through Brussels, Belgium and arrived in New York on October 17
- The doctor was taken to hospital from his home in Harlem on October 23 after developing an 103F fever, diarrhea and nausea
- Spencer reported feeling sluggish on Tuesday but only developed a temperature on Thursday morning
- On Wednesday night, Dr Spencer, who had been self-monitoring his symptoms, went to a bowling alley in Brooklyn by subway and taxi
- His fiancee Morgan Dixon is being quarantined as a precaution at Bellevue Hospital; His two friends are in self-quarantine at home
- ‘Disease detectives’ have fanned out to trace the patients’ contacts in order to identify anyone who may be at risk
- President Obama is offering federal support to New York as it responds to its first Ebola case
James Nye for MailOnline
14:31 EST, 23 October 2014
08:51 EST, 24 October 2014
There is growing concern today for those closest to New York’s Ebola-stricken doctor after his fiancée and two friends were placed in quarantine.
Dr Craig Spencer, 33, is being cared for in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after being confirmed as the first Ebola case in the country’s most populous city.
He was taken in an ambulance by a hazmat crew from his home in Harlem on Thursday morning with 100.3F fever, diarrhea, nausea, pain and fatigue.
The NYPD were seen cordoning off the street where the doctor lives with his 30-year-old fiancee, Morgan Dixon. She is also in quarantine at Bellevue as a precaution but has no symptoms. Two of the doctor’s friends have been asked to self-quarantine at home.
Dr Spencer returned to the U.S. on October 17 from Ebola ‘hot zone’ Guinea where he was treating patients with non-profit, Doctors Without Borders.
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Dr Craig Spencer, 33, pictured in hazardous protective clothing before he headed to Guinea in West Africa to care for Ebola patients. The doctor was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York City on Thursday with the virus
Morgan Dixon (pictured right), Dr Spencer’s girlfriend, is also being quarantined at Bellevue where she is being monitored for possible Ebola symptoms
Dr Spencer, 33, returned from West Africa on October 17 and was taken to Bellevue Hospital on Thursday after reporting a 103F fever
TIMELINE: THE RUN-UP TO DR SPENCER’S EBOLA DIAGNOSIS
- September 16: Dr Craig Spencer flew to Guinea to treat Ebola patients as a member of the French organization Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontiers)
- October 16: Dr Spencer left Guinea, flew to Brussels in Belgium and was screened for Ebola at JFK
- October 22: The doctor goes on a three-mile run around Harlem close to the home he shares with his girlfriend Morgan Dixon on 147th Street
- October 22 afternoon: He took the 1 subway train to the High Line garden bridge on the west side of Manhattan. Had lunch at a restaurant
- October 22 evening: He took the A train from his home to 14th St- 8 Ave subway station and changed to the L train to Bedford Avenue.
- October 22 late: Doctor went to The Gutter bowling alley with his girlfriend then takes an Uber cab home
- October 23, 10am-11am: The doctor contacts the health department to report that he has a fever. Admitted to Bellevue Hospital in midtown Manhattan and tested
- October, 8.30pm: Dr Spencer’s test comes back positive for Ebola
New York officials have been preparing for months for the possibility of an Ebola outbreak but confirmation of the first case still sent waves of fear through the city.
Dr Spencer moved around New York City for a week between the time he arrived back from Africa on October 17 and the time he fell ill on October 23 – raising concerns about who else he may have come into contact with while infected with the virus.
The doctor has been giving a detailed history of his movements – which include going for a three-mile run near his Harlem home, visiting tourist attraction the High Line in Chelsea and going bowling in Brooklyn – from his isolation room at Bellevue.
The doctor, who is originally from Detroit, Michigan, had reportedly been feeling sluggish on Tuesday but did not develop the Ebola symptoms on Tuesday.
On Thursday morning, he reported his fever immediately and Doctors Without Borders said it promptly notified the city health department who sent out a hazmat crew.
The 33-year-old works at Columbia University Medical Center but has not treated any patients at the hospital since returning from Africa a week ago.
Dr Spencer’s two friends have not been identified. The driver of an Uber car that Dr Spencer traveled in has also been identified but has been deemed not at risk.
HazMat Team in protective gear decontaminating after transporting Ebola patient, Dr Craig Spencer, by ambulance to Bellevue Hospital, this afternoon in Manhattan
A woman in a mask arrives at the front entrance of Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan today after the first case of Ebola was confirmed in New York City
A pedestrian, wearing a mask, walks near the apartment building of Dr Craig Spencer today in the Harlem neighborhood of New York
Uber confirmed one of their drivers had provided a car for Dr Spencer on Thursday evening.
It read: ‘We immediately contacted the CDC and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH), which stated that neither our driver partner nor any of his subsequent passengers are at risk.
‘We have communicated this to the driver, and the NYC DOHMH medical team met with the driver in person, assuring him that he is not at risk. Our thoughts are with the patient and his loved ones.’
Miss Dixon, who shares an apartment in Harlem with Dr Spencer has not developed Ebola symptoms but is being monitored closely at Bellevue.
She works as a development associate at The Hope Program in Brooklyn, a teaching program to help New Yorkers in poverty become self-sufficient.
As an intern and teacher she spent time working in Costa Rica, China and Guatemala before returning to the US in 2011 to take up a role as a monitoring and evaluation intern.
She has a Masters of Public Administration from NYU Wagner and a BA in Sociology and Ecologically Sustainable Development from Beloit College.
Her profile states she is ‘an ultimate frisbee player, a friend to coffee and enjoy exploring the world with family and friends’.
It is not clear how long Dr Spencer and Ms Dixon have been engaged. Pictures of the couple on Facebook show them happily posing as they travel the world.
Dr Spencer was feeling poorly on Wednesday when he went to The Gutter – a busy, trendy bowling alley in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (pictured)
The NYPD guard an apartment building where Dr Spencer lives with his fiancée Morgan Dixon on West 147th St in Harlem on Thurday night
Dr Spencer rode on New York City’s subway system and traveled in an Uber cab home to Harlem on October 22. He also went for a jog, ate at a restaurant, and visited popular tourist destination, The Highline
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference at Bellevue Hospital on Thursday night after Dr Spencer tested positive for Ebola.
‘Today, testing confirmed that a patient here in New York City has tested positive or Ebola,’ Mayor de Blasio said.
The mayor reassured New Yorkers they were safe, adding that being in a subway car with someone with Ebola symptoms, for example, does not put you at risk because ‘Ebola is an extremely difficult disease to get’.
He added: ‘Every hospital in the city is prepared in the event other patients come forward.’
Governor Cuomo said the city was well-prepared for an Ebola emergency.
‘[We were] hoping that it didn’t happen but also realistic,’ Cuomo said. ‘We can’t say this is unexpected.’
Governor Cuomo revealed that four people were considered potentially exposed to Dr. Spencer ‘during the relevant period’.
‘We’re already in contact with the four people,’ the governor said.
Calming fears: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo assembled at Bellevue Hospital for a press conference (pictured) following Spencer’s positive test results. Both officials maintained that Ebola is an extremely difficult disease to catch
Mayor de Blasio (pictured left) said it was unlikely Ebola would be transmitted in a place like on a subway train because it ‘is an extremely difficult disease to get’
Dr Spencer returned to the U.S. from West Africa on October 17, flying through Brussels to JFK in New York City
PRESIDENT OBAMA PROMISES FEDERAL AID TO EBOLA-HIT NYC
President Obama is offering federal support to New York as it responds to its first Ebola case.
Obama spoke Thursday night to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The White House says some officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were already on the ground, with another team expected to have arrived late Thursday.
Obama is asking Cuomo and de Blasio to stay in close touch with Ron Klain, Obama’s ‘Ebola czar,’ and public health officials in Washington.
He’s pledging more help if needed to ensure proper care for the patient and safety for health workers and the public.
A doctor who treated Ebola patients in West Africa tested positive Thursday. He’s the fourth Ebola case diagnosed in the U.S.
New York City Department of Health Commissioner Dr Mary Travis Bassett reported that Dr Spencer took three different subway trains – the 1, the A and the L (pictured) hours before he developed Ebola symptoms
Before Dr Spencer was admitted to Bellevue between 1pm and 2pm on Thursday, staff spent about three hours shutting off certain areas of the hospital to isolate the seventh-floor ward where he would be kept.
‘Anyone would be scared to be next door to a patient. But if we do it the right way there’s nothing to be scared of,’ said the nurse aide, Kirk Elphage.
A woman at the Bellevue information desk identified herself to a staff member as the patient’s fianceé. She appeared very agitated and declined to comment.
‘It is our understanding very few people were in direct contact with him,’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday night. ‘Every protocol has been followed. We’re hoping for a good outcome for this individual.’
HEALTH OFFICIALS USE TABASCO SAUCE IN EBOLA TRAINING
At the Ebola unit at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the staff have been practicing treating fake patients who’ve been sprayed at random with the spicy pepper sauce, reports ABC.
Tobacco sauce is produced out of Louisiana by McIlhenny Co. from red peppers called Capsicum frutescens.
When human skin comes into contact with capsaicin, the ‘spicy chemical’ in the peppers, it will tingle as the brain’s pain and temperature receptors are activated at the same time’In a way, it gives feedback immediately,’ said Dr. Bruce Meyer, an executive vice president at the hospital.
The hospital’s director of infection prevention, Doramarie Arocha, came up with the idea to replicate Ebola fluids with Tobasco Sauce just recently. Nurse Elizabeth Thomas told ABC said that health workers were originally training with ketchup mixed with water.
Once workers in training took off their protective gear at the end of the drill, Arocha asked everyone to rub their eyes and touch their lips to determine whether or not they were free of Tobasco sauce which in a more dire circumstance could lead to transmission of the deadly virus.
‘But we didn’t have the burning sensation,’ Thomas said. ‘So that’s how we knew we were doing the right thing.’
Warning signs: A New York City Department of Health and Hospitals Police officer walks past the entrance to Bellevue Hospital after a doctor who recently returned to New York from West Africa was rushed with a fever
Positive: Seen here is the entrance to Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where Spencer tested positive for Ebola Thursday night. At left, media began to gather into the evening as news spread of the doctor’s diagnosis
Spencer was rushed to Bellevue in this ambulance Thursday. EMTs in full Ebola gear arrived and took him to Bellevue surrounded by police squad cars
Treated: Spencer was being treated at Bellevue Hospital, the health department said. The historic city hospital is one of the eight in New York state designated this month as part of an Ebola preparedness plan
Members of Bellevue Hospital staff wear protective clothing as they demonstrate how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8. On Thursday they got the chance to implement their skills
The doctor’s neighbor John Roston told the Daily News Spencer lived with a girlfriend. Mr Roston added: ‘I hope he feels better, I hope it’s not Ebola, I hope it’s the flu.’
Health officials and police officers fanned out around Spencer’s 147th Street and Broadway apartment handing out flyers, knocking on doors and asking neighbors about potential contact with him.
initial news of Spencer’s potential infection led the CDC to ready a ‘team of specialists for epidemiology, infection control and communications’ to travel to New York City on Thursday night, reports the Washington Post.
Spencer, who had been working for MSF in Africa, had been checking in regularly with the charity group to monitor his condition. However, investigators were taking the case seriously because he did not quarantine himself on his return from Guinea, CNN reported. Ebola has an incubation period of 21 days.
Spencer flew back through Brussels, Belgium into JFK Aiport in Queens, New York on October 17.
Dr Spencer, pictured with girlfriend Morgan Dixon at right. He is being cared for in an isolation unit at Bellevue hospital in Manhattan but spent the previous evening out in busy Williamsburg
It is believed that Dr Spencer went to The Gutter bowling alley in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Wednesday night, hours before he reported a 103F fever and nausea
What happened at The Gutter? An exterior view of The Gutter, where reporters – but no one in hazmat suits – gathered after news of Dr Spencer’s movements broke. Spencer went out for the night Wednesday to one of Williamsburg’s two bowling alleys
Last night, he took the subway–most likely including the extremely busy L train–to a bowling alley in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He took an Uber taxi home.
Which bowling alley Spencer visited was not immediately clear, but there are only two in the area.
One of them, Brooklyn Bowl – a 16-lane bowling alley, bar and music venue – confirmed to MailOnline it would open on Thursday night.
An employee at the other alley, The Gutter, declined to tell MailOnline whether or not it intended to open their doors on Thursday.
The doctor flew to Africa on September 18 to treat patients in Guinea with MSF, a non-profit organization.
On September 18, Dr Spencer tweeted a picture of himself wearing a full yellow hazmat suit and face mask with the message: ‘Off to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders. Please support organizations that are sending support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history.’
Spreaing the word: Members of the New York City Department of Health speak to neighbors of a Dr. Craig Spencer, who is suspected to have Ebola in in the Harlem section of New York
A neighborhood watches: Neighbors of Spencer’s hold Ebola information cards in the Harlem, where response teams fanned out following news of the doctor’s possible Ebola symptoms
Spencer’s apartment in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood was sealed off but the rest of the six-story brick building remained open to residents, health officials said
The doctor was transported by a specially-trained hazmat unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment on Thursday by ambulance to Bellevue from his Harlem home (pictured)
On October 16, he checked in at a hotel in Brussels, Belgium, presumably on his return journey from Guinea to the U.S.
Spencer has been a fellow of international emergency medicine at Columbia University-New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City since 2011, according to his profile on the LinkedIn career website.
He described himself on LinkedIn as fluent in Chinese, French and Spanish.
Dr Spencer had been self-monitoring for symptoms of Ebola but had not been in quarantine on returning from West Africa
The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said on Thursday: ‘EMS HAZ-TAC Units transported a patient to Bellevue Hospital who presented a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms.
‘The patient is a health care worker who returned to the U.S. within the past 21 days from one of the three countries currently facing the outbreak of this virus.
‘The patient was transported by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).’
Bellevue Hospital is the designated center for the isolation and treatment of potential Ebola patients in New York.
The health department added: ‘New York City is taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers.
‘Bellevue and the New York State Department of Health will ensure that all staff caring for the patient do so while following the utmost safety guidelines and protocols.’
So-called ‘disease detectives’ are tracing the patients’ contacts in order to identify anyone who may be at risk.
Authorities also reassured New Yorkers the chances of catching Ebola were slim unless a person came in direct contact with a contagious Ebola patient’s bodily fluids.
The emergence of a potential Ebola case in New York City came on the same day the White House announced that Ebola response squads — likened to public health SWAT teams — are being readied to rush to any U.S. city where an Ebola case might be identified.
Meanwhile, the government has formed a second set of teams to prepare hospitals in cities deemed most likely to see a new Ebola case, should one turn up. Three of those teams have already been sent out.
Health officials this week first shared details about the two sets of health squads.
EBOLA SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Via the CDC:
- Symptoms of Ebola include
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal (stomach) pain
- Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.
Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response.
People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.
The teams are ‘ready to go — boom — if we have another case of Ebola,’ said Dr Jordan Tappero, one of the leaders of CDC’s Ebola response effort.
The government has been criticized for its handling of the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian, came down with Ebola symptoms last month, a few days after arriving in Dallas from West Africa.
He was admitted to a Dallas hospital on September 28 and died on October 8.
Duncan’s illness and death created public fear as health officials had to track down and monitor scores of people he came in contact with.
No one in the community has been infected, but two nurses who cared for him were. Since then, CDC officials have said they should have sent more people to Dallas when Duncan’s case first surfaced — particularly infection control specialists, who could have provided better guidance to the hospital.
Last week, President Obama announced a push for a faster federal reaction.
‘We want a rapid response team, a SWAT team essentially, from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so that they are taking the local hospital step by step though what needs to be done,’ he said.
Both the U.S. and Spain have recorded deaths from Ebola. In Dallas, a Liberian national died of the virus three weeks ago and two nurses who treated him tested positive for the virus.
Eight designated hospitals in New York: Health officials demonstrate the proper technique for donning protective gear during an ebola educational session for US healthcare workers on October 21
Preparation: A member of Bellevue’s Hospital staff wears protective clothing during a demonstration on how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient. Governor Cuomo admitted Thursday this case did not come as a surprise but assured New York the city is well prepared
WILL NYC BE VISITED BY FIRST EBOLA SWAT TEAM?
The CDC has developed two sets of teams, identified by acronyms CERT and FAST.
The CERTs – CDC Ebola Response Teams – are to be made up of 10 to 20 people each, who can be sent to a hospital immediately after a new case of Ebola is lab-confirmed or even before confirmation, if health officials believe a person is very likely to be infected. They are drawn from a list of roughly 100 CDC workers and others, scattered across the country. No CERT team has been deployed yet but the 20 or so people at the top of the list are on standby, with bags packed.
Three FAST teams were assembled last week. These are smaller, preparatory teams: FAST stands for Facility Assessment and Support Teams. They’re involved in checking out hospitals that have volunteered to handle Ebola cases, making sure they are ready to handle everything from the first encounter with a patient to the disposal of Ebola-infected medical waste. The FAST teams have already been sent to New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C, Atlanta and Newark, New Jersey.
On Sunday, the Pentagon said it’s building a 30-person medical support team that could go to help civilian hospitals deal with a future emergence of Ebola. The team is to include 20 critical care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease and five trainers in infectious disease protocols.
The CDC (its chief Dr. Tom Frieden is pictured here) deployed a team of experts to New York to help with the response to Spencer’s case even before he tested positive
Health specialists work in an isolation ward for patients at the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) facility in Guékedou, southern Guinea. All told, the Ebola scourge has killed
At least two Spanish missionaries died in Spain after contracting the disease in West Africa. One Spanish nurse also tested positive for the virus but has been given the all-clear.
The US only has four hospitals with specially-designed bio-containment units, with a total of about a dozen places for highly-infectious or dangerous cases.
Once those spaces are filled, any new Ebola patients would have to be treated in regular hospitals, which help from CDC specialists.
The virus has killed more than 4,500 people, almost all of them in West Africa, but infections are increasing in the West.
The two nurses who contracted Ebola while treating Duncan were moved last week from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas to specialized hospitals with biocontainment units.
The two nurses are Nina Pham, 26, and Amber Vinson, 29. Miss Pham is in a good condition at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and Miss Vinson has tested negative for Ebola at Emory in Atlanta, Georgia.
NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, 33, was given the all-clear on Tuesday at Nebraska Medical Center after being diagnosed with Ebola last month.
SHOCKING MOMENT BUMBLING COPS THREW OUT GLOVES AND MASKS IN PUBLIC TRASH CAN AFTER LEAVING EBOLA VICTIM’S HOME
Footage taken outside the apartment of Ebola-stricken doctor Craig Spencer on Thursday shows police throwing caution to the wind after working in the area–and potentially endangering Harlem pedestrians–by tossing their gloves and masks into a trash can.
It remained unclear whether the officers entered the apartment, but the footage was revealed at a moment when public confidence with the government’s response to Ebola is decidedly low.