US journalist heading home after Ebola recovery

October 22, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An American video journalist who has recovered from Ebola left an Omaha hospital Wednesday and is headed home to Rhode Island, hospital officials said.

Nebraska Medical Center officials said Ashoka Mukpo, who had contracted the virus while working in Liberia as a freelance cameraman for NBC and other media outlets, was released around 9 a.m. from the hospital’s biocontainment unit. In a statement read by Dr. Jeffrey Gold, the University of Nebraska Medical Center chancellor, Mukpo said: “Today is a joyful day.”

Mukpo, of Providence, Rhode Island, did not attend the news conference. Hospital officials had said Tuesday that Mukpo’s blood tested negative for the virus.

He had arrived Oct. 6 and was the second Ebola patient to be treated there. The first, Dr. Rick Sacra, has also recovered.

In his statement, Mukpo thanked Dr. Kent Brantly, who provided blood for a transfusion. Brantly, who was treated for Ebola in Atlanta, also donated blood to Sacra.

Such transfusions are believed to help Ebola patients because a survivor’s blood contains antibodies to fight the disease.

“I feel profoundly blessed to be alive, and in the same breath aware of the global inequalities that allowed me to be flown to an American hospital when so many Liberians die alone with minimal care,” Mukpo said.