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The Manhattan doctor diagnosed with Ebola is in stable condition in a hospital isolation unit, city officials said Friday. Dr. Craig Spencer, who traveled to the West African nation of Guinea to treat virus victims there, has been at Bellevue Hospital since Thursday, when he reported a low-grade fever of 100.3. His fiancee and two friends are also under quarantine but are not sick.
Disease detectives are retracing Spencer's movements, which include a walk on the elevated High Line and a trip to the Meatball Shop on Tuesday and a 3-mile run and a subway ride to a Brooklyn bowling alley called The Gutter on Wednesday. Officials said he was taking his temperature every day before Thursday and did not have any symptoms beyond fatigue so was likely not infectious.
Hospitals chief Ramanathan Raju said Spencer is feeling well enough to talk on a cellphone and is receiving treatment to support his electrolyte levels and ward off dehydration. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that the public health system is "fully prepared to handle Ebola" and there is no reason for residents to be alarmed.
Spencer, 33, returned from Guinea on Oct. 17 and followed federal protocols by taking his temperature twice a day. Rima Khabbaz, deputy director for infectious disease at the Centers for Disease Control, said federal authorities are taking a look at whether health-care professionals returning to the U.S. from treating Ebola in West Africa should isolate themselves even if they don't have symptoms that would indicate they are contagious.
There is no point in testing doctors before they have symptoms because the viral load — the level of the virus in their blood — would be too low to determine if they will get sick and potentially spread Ebola, experts saud. "Even early in the disease, the tests can sometimes be negative," city Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said.
It's not clear how Spencer — who used protective equipment while working with Ebola patients in Guinea — contracted the virus, which can only be transmitted through the bodily fluids of a sick person.
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