The first and only person to be diagnosed with Ebola in New York has been released from hospital following his recovery.Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old doctor, smiled as he appeared outside Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital, declaring: “I’m healthy and no longer infectious.”
He hugged medical personnel and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who hailed him as a “hero”.
“He stayed cool, he stayed calm,” Mr de Blasio said of Dr Spencer.
“He kept his sense of humour.
“It’s a very, very good day.”
Dr Spencer tested positive for the virus on 23 October, just days after returning from treating patients in Guinea with the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders.
He said he is a living example for how medical protocols can work to stop disease from spreading, and said volunteers who work in Ebola-stricken countries need to be supported.
He said he was “proud” of his work with Doctors Without Borders.
Dr Spencer was treated in a specially designed isolation unit at Bellevue, a designated Ebola treatment centre.
Health officials have stressed that Ebola is not airborne and can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person who is showing symptoms.
Still, news of Dr Spencer’s infection left many New Yorkers alarmed – particularly as it emerged that he rode the subway, dined in a restaurant and visited a bowling alley in the days before he developed a fever and tested positive.
The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed around 5,000 people, but only a handful have been diagnosed or treated in the US.
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s most generous philanthropists, has told Sky News the Ebola crisis needs to be a top priority.
“Because it’s really shut down the health systems in these countries and if we don’t stop this epidemic it will spread to many other countries and their health systems will shut down,” he said.