EBOLA NEWYORK
A woman reads alert on Ebola inside the Bellevue Hospital where Dr. Craig Spencer is being treated for Ebola symptoms in New York. Spencer, who worked in West Africa with Ebola patients, tested positive for Ebola and is in isolation at the hospital. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

A doctor who returned to New York City after treating Ebola patients in Guinea has tested positive for the virus.

Dr Craig Spencer, who works with Doctors Without Borders, has been shifted to the isolation ward at Bellevue Hospital.

Spencer, who developed fever and gastrointestinal symptoms, was transferred to hospital from his Manhattan apartment by a trained team wearing protective gear, reports Reuters.

All people who had contact with him have been quarantined.

There have been nine cases of Ebola in the United States with one patient succumbing to the disease.

One of the nurses who treated Ebola patient Duncan has made a speedy recovery, the reason for which is being debated.

While experts are not able to say if it was due to early medical interventions or because of a healthy immune system, most agree that early diagnosis and treatment could be a reason.

Early care which provides support to the body can help clear the virus. But in West African conditions where hospitals are few and doctors fewer, patients are often turned back and home-based care is the only option left.

Team to study plasma treatment

In response to the fast spiralling cases of Ebola, an international research consortium led by the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp (ITM) will assess whether treatment with antibodies in the blood of Ebola survivors could help infected patients.

The researchers received € 2.9m of European Union (EU) funding to evaluate the safety and efficacy of treatment with blood and plasma made from the blood of recovered Ebola patients.

Blood and plasma from recovered Ebola patients has been used in a limited number of patients during the 1995 Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). While seven out of eight patients receiving convalescent whole blood survived, it is not clear whether the transfusions or some other factor was at play.

The latest research seeks to evaluate this therapy in carefully designed studies according to the highest ethical and scientific standards.

Meanwhile, Mali has reported its first case of Ebola with a two-year-old girl who had come from neighbouring Guinea, reports NBC News.

Mali is now the sixth West African country to report an Ebola case — after Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria.

A total of 9,911 cases and 4,868 deaths have been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the World Health Organization has said.