Ashoka Mukpo in an undated Facebook photo
By now U. S. residents and citizens must be wondering why people known to have been diagnosed with Ebola while out of the country are still being allowed to enter the United States? And, knowing that America has the medicine to treat those diagnosed with Ebola, why can’t that medicine be shipped to where it is needed most?
As recent as last week, there was a case of a man who had just left Liberia and traveled to Dallas, where it was discovered that he had symptoms of Ebola. But now, a man known to have been diagnosed in Liberia, is en route to Nebraska, and bringing the deadly disease with him.
Should we be concerned?
The gentleman is a freelance NBC News cameraman who left Liberia earlier today on his way home to Nebraska; where he will be treated at an Omaha hospital.
The man, identified as Ashoka Mukpo, 33, left Liberia on a specially-equipped airplane just before 5:30 p.m. ET (9:30 p.m. local time), officials said; and was to make one stop, in Maine, before reaching his Nebraska destination.
Mukpo is the fifth American diagnosed with Ebola. He was hired by NBC News to be a second cameraman for their Chief Medical Editor and Correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman. He was hired on Tuesday by the news station, and by Thursday, he tested positive for Ebola. Dr. Snyderman, who was working with the journalist, is continually testing her temperature as well. She said her new cameraman is in “great spirits,” and that he is eating and drinking on his own.
Both positive signs.
Mukpo’s father, Dr. Mitchell Levy, said his eldest child was anxious to leave Liberia and is “…counting the minutes.” The ICU doctor told NBC News Sunday morning that he had spoken with his son via phone early Sunday, and he had told him he was “just trying to get through to the moment I get on that plane.”
Apparently, the virus is progressive, as Mukpo told his father he is not feeling “that ill.” Dr. Levy, his wife and their sons girlfriend, will join their Mukpo in Nebraska on Sunday.
Fortunately, Mukpo will be at a hospital who successfully treated Dr. Rick Sacra, an Ebola patient who is now considered virus-free. And Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the biocontainment unit at the Nebraska Medical Center shared optimism as he told NBC News “the encouraging thing is that … we are learning about (Ebola) as we go, we have all the special equipment that we can bring in here to deal with somebody in the isolation unit, and the results in the United States have been better than in Africa.”
Still, it will be interesting to see how the United States will move forward with allowing people back into the country who are traveling from the disease-ravaged country, and have been diagnosed with the virus.