As the Ebola virus continues to sweep through West Africa, a few isolated cases have begun to appear in the United States, raising concerns throughout the country about quarantines and protocol for potentially infected people.
Dr. Craig Allen Spencer recently returned to the U.S. after treating Ebola patients in Guinea. He was placed into isolation at Bellevue Hospital in New York City on Thursday, Oct. 23 after exhibiting symptoms of Ebola.
Spencer, after realizing he had a fever and gastrointestinal distress, alerted authorities and was transported to the hospital in a specially designated ambulance. Spencer tested positive for Ebola on Oct. 24, making this the fourth diagnosed case in the United States.
Just one day after Spencer was positively diagnosed with the disease, Nina Pham, the first U.S. citizen to contract Ebola on U.S. soil, was declared free of the virus. She was released from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
As a nurse, Pham cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first and only person to die from Ebola in the U.S. While caring for Duncan, she was exposed to the virus and fell ill.
According to The New York Times, before returning to Dallas, Pham stopped at the White House. President Obama hugged her and congratulated her on overcoming the disease.
Pham publicly thanked Dr. Kent Brantly, the American physician who also survived Ebola, for donating plasma to her while she was ill, according to CNN. Pham plans on returning to Texas, where she will be reunited with her family and will continue to work on regaining her strength.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at a press conference. They reiterated the risk of infection was low for New Yorkers unless they were in direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.
“We want to state at the outset that New Yorkers have no reason to be alarmed,” de Blasio said. “New Yorkers who have not been exposed are not at all at risk.”
President Obama spoke with both leaders Thursday night, offering them any support needed and also asking them to keep in contact with the newly-appointed “Ebola czar,” Ron Klain.
A 21-day quarantine for those who have come into contact with individuals who have tested positive for Ebola has been mandated. Additionally, the homes of those who have been diagnosed with the disease are being thoroughly disinfected by crews wearing fully covering protection suits.
Spencer’s fiancée, 30-year-old Morgan Dixon, will be in quarantine in the Harlem apartment she shares with Spencer until Nov. 14, according to ABC. A member of the New York Public Health System will visit frequently to evaluate her.
As of now, Dixon has not shown any symptoms.
Editor’s Note: Information from The New York Times, CNN, ABC and NBC was used in this report.