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NYC Doctor With Ebola Shows Signs of Improvement

Condition upgraded to stable, from serious but stable, hospital says

SATURDAY, Nov. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The condition of a New York City doctor who became infected with Ebola while treating patients in West Africa has been upgraded to stable, hospital officials reported Saturday.

Dr. Craig Spencer has been undergoing treatment at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for nine days. The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs Bellevue, said Spencer's condition had been upgraded from serious but stable.

The 33-year-old Spencer has been receiving treatments that have proven effective for Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He became infected while working with Ebola patients in Guinea, one of three West African countries ravaged by the outbreak that has caused more than 13,000 infections and nearly 5,000 deaths.

He remains in isolation at the hospital, officials said.

Spencer was working in West Africa for Doctors Without Borders. He returned to New York City on Oct. 14, and by Oct. 23 had developed a 100.3-degree fever. He immediately alerted Doctors Without Borders. Emergency medical workers in full personal protective gear transported him from his Manhattan apartment to an isolation unit at Bellevue Hospital, The New York Times reported.

Before Spencer developed symptoms, he visited a park and ate at a restaurant in Manhattan, traveled by subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says someone infected with Ebola is not contagious until they show symptoms, such as fever.

Spencer's diagnosis and travels throughout New York City prompted the governors of New York and New Jersey to declare a mandatory quarantine for travelers exposed to Ebola in West Africa.

Faced with pressure from the White House and criticism from U.S. infectious-disease experts, the governors -- Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey -- eased their quarantine measures that required all medical workers returning from West Africa who had contact with Ebola patients to be forced into isolation.

Cuomo and Christie said their revised policies allow medical workers to be confined in their homes while receiving twice-a-day monitoring from health officials.

Obama administration officials and much of the U.S. medical community criticized the mandatory quarantines. They said the quarantines would discourage doctors, nurses and other health professionals from traveling to West Africa to combat the epidemic.

More information

For more on Ebola, visit the World Health Organization.

SOURCES: Nov. 1, 2014, news release, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation; Oct. 27, 2014, The New York Times
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