NYC Ebola patient improves; Oregon patient is ‘low-risk’ for virus

Members of the news media crowd outside Dr. Craig Spencer's apartment building after his diagnosis with Ebola was confirmed.
Members of the news media crowd outside Dr. Craig Spencer’s apartment building after his diagnosis with Ebola was confirmed.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

A New York City doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in West Africa is now in stable condition, and health officials in Oregon say a woman who presented Ebola-like symptoms Friday is not likely to have the virus.

Dr. Craig Spencer, 33, is responding well to treatment, which has included brincidofovir, according to a statement released Saturday by the city’s Health and Hospitals Corp. The experimental drug has been used to treat other patients in the U.S.

“Based on our patient’s clinical progress and response to treatment, today HHC is updating his condition to ‘stable’ from ‘serious but stable,’” the statement read. “The patient will remain in isolation and continue to receive full treatment.”


Spencer has been at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan since Oct. 23, six days after returning from Guinea, where he had been treating patients alongside the aid group Doctors Without Borders.

As Spencer’s condition continues to improve, health officials in Oregon are waiting to see if a woman who was hospitalized Friday with Ebola-like symptoms truly has the virus.

John Turner, a spokesman for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday that a test had been conducted but the results were not immediately available.

The woman, whose identity has not been made public, recently traveled to West Africa, and has been monitored since her return. She came down with a high fever Friday and was taken to Providence Milwaukie Hospital, just outside Portland, according to Julie Sullivan-Springhetti, a spokeswoman for the Multnomah County Health Department.

On Saturday, the hospital said the woman was considered “low-risk for having the Ebola virus.”

Health officials have not said exactly where the woman had been staying or when she returned to the U.S.

Sullivan-Springhetti said Friday that several people who had contact with her will be monitored.

The woman did not go out in public after presenting symptoms on Friday, officials said.

Several cases of Ebola have been treated in the U.S. in recent months, and almost all of the patients have been healthcare workers who treated victims of the deadly outbreak that has claimed nearly 5,000 lives in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia since March.

Spencer’s case drew public scorn because the 33-year-old had gone out in public with his friends and fiancee after returning. Since then, several states, including New York, have mandated that medical staff returning from West Africa must submit to 21-day quarantines and monitoring.

That move touched off controversy involving Kaci Hickox, a nurse who had treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. Hickox, who had no symptoms, arrived back in the U.S. at the airport in Newark, N.J., last month and was immediately quarantined near University Hospital in Newark.

She was eventually allowed to go home to Maine, but Maine officials ordered her to stay confined to her Fort Kent home. She had vowed to defy the order -- and did, going for a bike ride.

On Friday, a Maine judge eased state-imposed restrictions on her, although she must continue daily monitoring for symptoms of the virus.

Maine District Court Chief Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere turned down the state’s request to prohibit Hickox from being in public places or using public transportation. He said the state did not prove its argument that such restrictions were needed to protect the public’s health.

Her confinement highlighted the paranoia and negative stigma being attached to many of the aid workers who have traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to combat the outbreak.

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