(Reuters) – A physician with Doctors without Borders who returned from West Africa recently and developed potential symptoms was being tested for Ebola at a New York City hospital, health officials said on Thursday, setting off fresh fears about the spread of the virus.
The doctor was identified as Craig Spencer, who was working for the humanitarian organization in Guinea, one of three West African nations hardest hit by Ebola.
Spencer, 33, developed a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms and notified Doctors Without Borders on Thursday morning, the organization said in a statement.
City health officials were alerted, and Spencer was transported from his Manhattan apartment by a specially trained team wearing protective gear, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said in a statement.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said test results on the doctor would be made public, possibly late on Thursday evening.
“It is our understanding very few people were in direct contact with him,” de Blasio said at a news conference. “Every protocol has been followed.”
The health department said it was tracing all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk.
Spencer was being treated at Bellevue Hospital, the health department said. The historic city hospital is one of the eight in New York state designated this month as part of an Ebola preparedness plan.
Spencer’s Facebook page, which included a photo of him clad in protective gear, said he went to Guinea around Sept. 18 and then flew to Brussels on Oct. 16.
He has specialized in international emergency medicine at Columbia University-New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City since 2011, according to his profile on the LinkedIn career website.
Columbia in a statement said he has not been to work nor seen any patients since his return. It called him “a dedicated humanitarian … who went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population.”