The US prepared Friday to fly home a cameraman who contracted Ebola in Liberia, as the head of the UN´s response agency headed to Sierra Leone to lead the fight against an epidemic he called the world´s “highest priority”.
Ashoka Mukpo, 33, who was working as a freelancer for NBC news, discovered he was running a fever on Wednesday, his network said, and is in quarantine in a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) treatment centre.
Hired by NBC only three days ago, he is the fourth American to contract Ebola in Liberia.
“The doctors are optimistic about his prognosis,” Mukpo´s father Mitchell Levy said in a message to family and friends quoted by NBC, adding that his son had worked on humanitarian projects in Liberia for several years.
“When the Ebola outbreak occurred he felt compelled to return to Liberia to help shed light on how the crisis was being handled socially and politically,” Levy said.
NBC News president Deborah Turness said the rest of the crew in Liberia were being closely monitored but were showing no symptoms.
“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.”
Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), travelled to Sierra Leone on Friday for the second leg of a tour of the three hardest-hit nations.
“The only way we will end this crisis is if we end every single last case of Ebola so there is no more risk of transmission to anyone, and when that´s accomplished, UNMEER will go home,” he told journalists on Thursday in the Liberian capital Freetown.