A doctor who recently treated Ebola patients in West Africa is being tested for the deadly virus at a New York City hospital, where he was taken Thursday with a 103-degree fever and gastrointestinal symptoms.
City health officials also "immediately began to actively trace all of the patient's contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk," the NYC health department said. The girlfriend of the physician, identified as Dr. Craig Spencer, was placed in quarantine, but she is healthy, the health department said.
Spencer, 33, was transported from his apartment in the Hamilton Heights section of upper Manhattan to Bellevue Hospital by a specially trained unit of emergency medical service workers wearing hazardous material protective gear, according to the health department.
The department did not identify Spencer by name. His identity was confirmed by NBC News.
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Preliminary test results on Spencer are expected to be available by early Tuesday morning. The federal Centers for Disease Control is preparing to send an Ebola-response team to New York City, according to a CDC official. The agency already has some Ebola experts in New York.
The city health department also said the Spencer is being evaluated for other potential causes of his symptoms, such as salmonella, malaria or stomach flu.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said officials believe "very few" people had contact with Spencer since he returned from Africa last week.
Spencer is a fellow of international emergency medicine and on the staff of Columbia University-New York Presbyterian Hospital.
In a statement, New York Presbyterian said, "He has not been to work at our hospital and has not seen any patients at our hospital since his return from overseas."
The hospital system called Spencer a "dedicated humanitarian . . . who went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population. He is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first.
"Our thoughts are with him, and we wish him all the best at this time."
Spencer had recently worked with the international aid group Doctors Without Borders in the West African nation of Guinea, which with Sierra Leone and Liberia are the epicenter of an Ebola outbreak that has so far killed nearly 5,000 people. The nation of Mali recorded its first confirmed case Thursday.
NBC 4 New York reported that Spencer had flown back to New York's JFK International Airport from Guinea last Friday. His Facebook page, which has since been taken down, had shown a photo of him posing while wearing body-covering protective gear in Brussels, Belgium, whose airport is a hub for travel to West Africa.