BOSTON (CBS) – A NBC News cameraman in Liberia, originally from Providence, Rhode Island, has been diagnosed with Ebola.
Ashoka Mukpo, 33, was on a freelance assignment for the network in Monrovia, reporting on the Ebola outbreak.
His father, Dr. Mitchell Levy, said Mukpo will be transported to the isolation unit at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha Sunday, the same facility where Holden Dr. Rick Sacra was treated for Ebola last month.
According to NBC, Mukpo started showing symptoms on Wednesday, when he ran a fever and began feeling tired and achy. He was tested for the virus Thursday and it came back positive just under 12 hours later, the network reported on its website Friday.
The other four members of the NBC News team are feeling well and not showing symptoms of the Ebola virus, according to the network.
Mukpo is the fifth American infected with Ebola. He is currently being treated at the Doctors Without Borders Clinic in Monrovia.
His mother, Diana Mukpo, told WBZ-TV Chris McKinnon Friday her son is “very, very frightened, But his spirits are relatively good.”
“We intend to go wherever he ends up,” she said.
Mukpo said her son’s virus is in the “early stages” and she is optimistic he will be cured.
Ashoka told his mother he has an idea of how he may have contracted Ebola.
“At one point he was trying to help decontaminate a car. He had most of the protective gear on, but he thinks something might have splashed on his body at that point. That’s one possibility, but really, one doesn’t know fully,” Diana said.
Ashoka has been working in Liberia for the past three years, NBC said, adding that the freelancer had just been hired by the network on Tuesday.
He came home to Providence during the summer, but his mother said he went back to Liberia because of the “incredible impact of the Ebola situation.”
“He felt it was very important to go back and document the impact that this is having, socially and health-wise and financially,” Diana told WBZ.
“He called me the night before he was leaving,” she said. “I was really distraught.”
“Ashoka is very smart, he’s very passionate and he’s very committed and there was no way to change his mind.”
On his Facebook page, Mukpo wrote this about his experiences from Monrovia on September 18:
man oh man i have seen some bad things in the last two weeks of my life. 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. the raw coldness of deprivation and the potential for true darkness that exists in the human experience. i hope that humanity can figure out how we can take care of each other and our world. simple, soft aspiration for all my brothers and sisters on this earth who suffer the elements and the cold. may we all be free, loved, and tended to…
NBC will fly its team back on a private charter flight and they will be placed under quarantine in the United States for 21 days.
Diana Mukpo said the U.S. State Department has been very helpful, compassionate and accessible in helping them get her son back to the U.S. for treatment.
“Sunday feels like an awfully long way away,” she said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports
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