Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ebola Outbreak: NY Doctor Craig Spencer Tests Positive
An Ebola patient is being treated at Bellvue Hospital in New York.
BBC World News

A New York doctor who had recently travelled to the Ebola-ravaged West African country of Guinea has tested positive for the disease, New York officials have said.

Dr Craig Spencer, who worked for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), came down with a fever on Thursday.

He is the first Ebola case diagnosed in New York, the largest city in the US.

More than 4,800 people have died of Ebola - mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - since March.

Dr Spencer fell ill with a fever and diarrhoea on Thursday and was taken to New York City's Bellevue Hospital, where he was immediately placed into isolation, the officials said.

Health department officials fanned out into the city in an effort to trace his contacts and identify anyone at risk of having caught the disease from Dr Spencer.

Ebola patients are only infectious if they have symptoms, and the disease is only transmittable through bodily fluids, experts say.

Dr Spencer is the fourth person to be diagnosed with the disease in the US.

The first caught Ebola in his native Liberia and travelled to Dallas, Texas, before his symptoms set in. He died on 8 October.

Two nurses who treated him in Dallas subsequently came down with the disease and are recovering in hospital.

Vaccine research

Meanwhile, on Thursday the West African country of Mali confirmed its first Ebola case - a two-year-old girl recently returned from Guinea.

The girl's mother died in Guinea a few weeks ago and the child was then brought by relatives to Mali, Reuters news agency quotes a health ministry official as saying.

Mali is now the sixth West African country to be affected by the latest Ebola outbreak - however Senegal and Nigeria have since been declared virus-free by the WHO.

Separately, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already identified at least two experimental vaccines which it believes could be promising.

At a meeting in Geneva, the UN health body said it wanted tests of the vaccines to be completed by the end of December.

The WHO says 443 health workers have contracted Ebola, of whom 244 have died.

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