Dr. Craig Spencer, Ebola free, showered with applause - KMOV.com

Dr. Craig Spencer, Ebola free, showered with applause

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Ebola training facility in Anniston, Alabama. By Stephanie Baumer The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Ebola training facility in Anniston, Alabama. By Stephanie Baumer

(CNN) -- Wild cheers and applause greeted Dr. Craig Spencer as he appeared for a press conference at New York’s Bellevue Hospital.

Wearing a blue sweater and smiling, he seemed the picture of health—less than a month after he was diagnosed with Ebola.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wanted to welcome Spencer, who was pronounced free of the virus Tuesday—back to his “normal life.”

Spencer stood beside the mayor. De Blasio urged him to give the mayor’s wife a hug. Then, de Blasio and Spencer embraced.

It’s a “good feeling to hug a hero,” de Blasio said.

Now, with the physician declared free of the virus, all U.S. patients who had Ebola have recovered.

Spencer was released Tuesday from Bellevue.

He had been in isolation there since his diagnosis last month. At the time, the 33-year-old had just returned home after treating Ebola patients with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, one of the three West African nations, along with Liberia and Sierra Leone, where Ebola is most severe.

Spencer came down with symptoms shortly after arriving in New York on October 17. He was diagnosed on October 23 -- the same day that Doctors Without Borders reported that he had a fever. Ebola patients must be symptomatic to be contagious.

Reports that he went jogging and bowling, ate out and took the subway fanned fears that the virus could spread in the city. But authorities said that the risk of that happening was low.

New York authorities said there were strict protocols in place to handle an Ebola patient and to track those he or she came into contact with.

Overall, they noted, there are far greater resources and coordination in the United States than in West Africa, both in government response to containing the virus and in medical tools needed to treat it. That is one of the reasons patients have survived in the United States where they might not have elsewhere, officials say.

Ebola in Guinea

The virus made its first appearance in Guinea last December, according to the World Health Organization. Ebola first infected a toddler named Emile Ouamouno. The 2-year-old is considered “patient zero” for the outbreak, researchers at The New England Journal of Medicine say. It’s not clear how the boy, who lived in a rainforest village in southern Guinea, became infected.

Investigators at the WHO said this month that there’s reason to hope for Guinea because respected community leaders have gotten leaders in 26 villages to help them get the word out about how the virus is spread and how to prevent becoming infected. The help of those villages has resulted in a surged of reported cases that were previously concealed, the WHO said.

For some time, many in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone believed Ebola was a lie the government made up, among other falsehoods.

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