American Journalist Ashoka Mukpo Tests Positive For Ebola In Liberia
Ashoka Mukpo, an American freelance cameraman who was working with NBC News in Liberia, has tested positive for Ebola.
American Cameraman Gets Ebola
Mukpo had been working in West Africa for several years when NBC hired him to serve as a second cameraman for their Ebola coverage on Tuesday. He was to work with NBC’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman and her crew, but came down with Ebola symptoms a day after he was hired, on Wednesday, reported the Washington Post. Mukpo immediately self-quarantined himself until he could seek medical advice on Thursday at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), where they tested him for the disease. The test returned positive results 12 hours later.
"My suspicion is that he was infected before we met him and then he became symptomatic once we met him. The amount of virus in his body is low. We should have a very good prognosis,” Snyderman said on the Today show. Snyderman said on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, “We have really worked hard to minimize our risk. Obviously, zero risk means never coming to Liberia.”
Mukpo will be flown out of Liberia to a hospital in the United States equipped to deal with Ebola cases on Sunday. Snyderman and her crew will also be headed out of Liberia, taking a chartered plane back to the U.S. as a precaution. Upon their arrival back, they’ll be quarantining themselves for 21 days to see if they show any Ebola symptoms.
“We are also taking all possible measures to protect our employees and the general public,” NBC News President Deborah Turness wrote in a memo. “The rest of the crew, including Dr. Nancy, are being closely monitored and show no symptoms or warning signs. However, in an abundance of caution, we will fly them back on a private charter flight and then they will place themselves under quarantine in the United States for 21 days—which is at the most conservative end of the spectrum of medical guidance.”
Both of Mukpo’s parents have expressed concern for their son’s well-being. "The enormous anxiety I have as a mother … is the delay between now and him leaving on Sunday," Diana Mukpo said on Today. "The State Department has been fantastic. They've been compassionate. I can only hope and pray that his symptoms don't worsen." Mukpo’s father Dr. Mitchell Levy added, "Obviously, he is scared … he has been filming what's happening in Liberia for two weeks and seeing the death and tragedy. And now it's really hit home for him.”
Two weeks before he tested positive for Ebola, Mukpo took to Facebook to share his experience in the heart of the epidemic. “Man oh man I have seen some bad things in the last two weeks of my life,” he wrote. “How unpredictable and fraught with danger life can be. How in some parts of the world, basic levels of help and assistance that we take for granted completely don't exist for many people. “