VILevi/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — New York City is monitoring 117 people for possible Ebola, most of them people who arrived on commercial flights from West Africa over the past 19 days.
Those being monitored include people who cared for a New York doctor who tested positive for Ebola after treating patients in West Africa.
The doctor, Craig Allen Spencer, was placed in an isolation unit last week at Bellevue Hospital after reporting Ebola-like symptoms.
“The list also includes Bellevue Hospital staff taking care of Dr. Spencer, FDNY EMS staff who transported Dr. Spencer to Bellevue, the lab workers who conducted Dr. Spencer’s blood test, and the three people who had direct contact with Dr. Spencer prior to his arrival at Bellevue and who are currently under city quarantine,” said Marti Adams, a spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Most of those monitored, however, were identified through stepped up screening protocols at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which began on Oct. 11.
“The vast majority of these individuals [being monitored] are travelers arriving in New York City since Oct. 11 from the three Ebola-affected countries who are being monitored post-arrival,” Adams said.
Spencer, 33, was treating Ebola patients in Guinea for Doctors Without Borders, according to the officials. Guinea is one of the West African countries currently battling an Ebola outbreak.
Spencer is the fourth patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national, tested positive for the virus at the end of September in Dallas, where he infected two nurses who cared for him: Nina Pham and Amber Vinson.
Duncan died on Oct. 8. Vinson and Pham have both been discharged and are Ebola-free.
Spencer is the only remaining American Ebola patient still battling the virus in the United States. Bellevue Hospital released a statement on Thursday saying that he remains in serious but stable condition.
The hospital also noted that a 5-year-old child who tested negative for Ebola on Monday was discharged on Thursday.
Spencer’s diagnosis prompted several states to toughen their quarantine rules, leading to the controversy surrounding Ebola nurse Nancy Hickox, who is refusing to abide by voluntary quarantine rules in Maine.
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