After almost three weeks in a New York City hospital, Dr. Craig Spencer, who contracted Ebola while helping patients in West Africa, was cured of the virus and released.
"I wanted to start by taking a moment to thank the medical team here," Spencer said at a news conference Tuesday morning. "Since I was admitted in Oct. 23, I have received an exceptional level of treatment, encouragement and support from the entire medical team [at Bellevue Hospital.]"
"Today, I am healthy and no longer infectious," he added.
The 33-year-old physician served in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders and was diagnosed with Ebola a few days after returning to he U.S.
"It is a good feeling to hug a hero and we have a hero here in our midst," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the news conference after he and his wife hugged the emergency room physician. "Someone who served others no matter how much danger, he has been an inspiration throughout what he's faced."
The city's mayor praised emergency and medical crews' response to Spencer's case and also said the doctor "did everything perfectly" as well. Spencer was criticized shortly after his diagnosis for his movements around the city a day before he was rushed to the hospital with symptoms.
Spencer also said that he is an example of how early monitoring techniques help prevent the spread of infection.
With Spencer's recovery, there are no Ebola patients currently under treatment in the U.S. But officials continue to monitor hundreds of people.
"Dr. Spencer is Ebola free and New York City is Ebola free," de Blasio said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a news conference about the cure and release of Dr. Craig Spencer (standing at the right) who survived an Ebola infection. (Image source: WPIX-TV live stream)
"I urge you please to focus your attention to where it is most needed, at the source of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa," Spencer said.
The mayor also suggested New Yorkers get a flu shot because it will help "our health care community to not have to spend time looking at symptoms that are just the flu while they're looking at other challenges."
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed thousands of people, but only a handful of people has been diagnosed or treated in the United States.
Those treated in the U.S. also include American health and aid workers and a journalist who were in West Africa, a Liberian man diagnosed with the virus during a visit to Texas and two nurses who contracted it from him. The man, Thomas Eric Duncan, died; the rest have recovered.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.