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Doctors Without Borders physician tests positive for Ebola in New York

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NEW YORK (PIX11/CNN) — A New York City doctor has tested positive for Ebola  after treating patients of the deadly disease in West Africa, a law enforcement official briefed on the matter told CNN.

Craig Spencer, a doctor at New York Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center, traveled to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders in September.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed all protocols in handling suspected Ebola patients have been followed. Spencer had the symptoms for a brief period of time, the mayor said, and did not have direct contact with many people.

The 33-year-old made a stopover in Brussels October 16 before returning to New York City. He called officials from his Harlem apartment after he started having pain, nausea and a high fever.

City officials are in the process of identifying everyone Spencer may have come in contact with since returning to the city.

“The physician is a dedicated humanitarian on the staff of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center who went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population,” a spokesman for the hospital where Spencer works said. “He is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first. He has not been to work at our hospital and has not seen any patients at our hospital since his return from overseas. Our thoughts are with him, and we wish him all the best at this time.”

Authorities have also quarantined Spencer’s girlfriend, which whom he was spending time with since his return from Africa.

Bellevue is one of the eight New York hospitals designated by Governor Cuomo to handle potential Ebola cases.

“The state Department of Health is closely monitoring this potential case and is working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that all appropriate protocols are being followed to protect public health and safety,” Acting Commissioner of the Department of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement.

“That facility [Bellevue] is prepared and equipped for the isolation, identification, and treatment of any such patients. Preliminary test results are expected to be completed in the next 12 hours. It is important to remember that the symptoms exhibited by this patient can be indicative of other illnesses and that there is no confirmed case at this time.”

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