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New York doctor diagnosed with Ebola is ‘dedicated humanitarian’: hospital

Posted: 12:21 AM, Oct 24, 2014
Updated: 2014-10-24 06:37:56-04

(CNN) -- With a quick glance at Dr. Craig Spencer's work history, it is apparent he has an affinity for helping those in need.

His work has taken him from hospital emergency rooms in New York to the rural clinics in Africa, where he has worked with limited resources to improve medical care.

And now that work in Guinea, where he reportedly was helping treat Ebola patients, has put him at risk.

Spencer, 33, tested positive for Ebola on Thursday.

"Off to Guinea with Doctor Without Borders," Spencer wrote on his Facebook page in mid-September. "Please support organizations that are sending support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history."

He also posted a picture of himself wearing protective gear.

Spencer traveled to Guinea in September with Doctors Without Boarders. (Photo: Craig Spencer/Facebook)

Spencer traveled to Guinea in September with Doctors Without Boarders. (Photo: Craig Spencer/Facebook)

His last post was on Oct. 16, and it was a check-in from 9Hotel Central in Brussels, Belgium. The Facebook page appeared to have been taken down Thursday afternoon.

According to a statement released by Doctors Without Borders, the physician engaged in "regular health monitoring."

The doctor checked his temperature twice a day since departing Guinea, said Dr. Mary Bassett, the commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

The doctor showed his "first actual symptoms" on Thursday morning, she said. Those symptoms included a high fever. He was then taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for testing. Bassett did not identify the doctor.

A law enforcement official previously told CNN the doctor began showing symptoms Wednesday night.

The doctor's fiancee and two close friends have been quarantined as a precaution, Bassett said.

Spencer, according to his social media posts, claims Detroit as his hometown.

He graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2008, and completed his residency at New York Hospital Queens, according a listing on the New York -- Presbyterian Hospital website.

Spencer is board certified in emergency medicine.

"The physician is a dedicated humanitarian on the staff of New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center who went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population," the hospital said in a statement, without directly identifying Spencer.

"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."

Spencer began work on a number of projects in Africa in recent years, including in Rwanda where he worked to help develop an emergency care teaching curriculum.

He later worked in southern Burundi on an infant mortality survey and, more recently, he worked on a neurocysticercosis outbreak investigation -- an examination of seizures and epilepsy -- in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to his professional profile on LinkedIn, he claims fluency in Chinese, French, Spanish and Greek.

He attended Henan University in China from 2006 to 2007, where he studied Chinese language and literature, according to his profile.