New York doctor now free of Ebola to be discharged from hospital

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2014 10:01 AM

By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A doctor's expected hospital discharge on Tuesday after weeks of isolation treatment for Ebola was cheered by New Yorkers - from City Hall to the Harlem apartment building where he lives.

The release of Dr. Craig Spencer, 33, who worked with Ebola patients in Guinea and had been held at Bellevue Hospital Center since he was diagnosed with the virus on Oct. 23, will mean no one in the United States is being treated for the disease, according to media reports.

Spencer was to appear at a news conference Tuesday morning and make a statement after his release, the hospital said.

Spencer, who traveled to West Africa with Doctors Without Borders, will be joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city officials and Bellevue staff, the hospital said.

Spencer's diagnosis followed trips on the subway to eat out and go bowling with friends, provoking public alarm about the possible spread of the virus in the city.

Neighbors who have not seen Spencer since he was hospitalized three weeks ago said they were happy to hear he may be headed home soon.

"I'm glad to hear he's well enough for that to happen," one woman told NY1 television.

"The building's been through a lot and I'm sure they have been through more," she said, referring to Spencer's fiancée, who was quarantined in the apartment until recently.

Ebola has killed more than 4,950 people since it broke out in West Africa earlier this year, according to the World Health Organization. The bulk of the cases and deaths have come in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

In North Carolina, health officials said on Monday a missionary, Dr. John Fankhauser, 52, of Ventura, California, was deemed to be at "some risk" for developing the disease after returning from Liberia and had been placed under a 21-day quarantine.

There has been only one Ebola death in the United States - Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted the disease in his native Liberia and died in Dallas, where he had gone to visit.

In Maine, nurse Kaci Hickox, who treated Ebola patients in West Africa and publicly fought quarantine orders in New Jersey and Maine after returning to the United States last month, planned to move from her Fort Kent home after her quarantine expired on Monday, according to local media.

On Sunday, CBS said that "60 Minutes" reporter Lara Logan and her colleagues had quarantined themselves in a hotel in South Africa after producing a report on an Ebola clinic in Liberia.

Medical experts say Ebola can be transmitted only through the bodily fluid of a person who is exhibiting symptoms.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Bill Trott)