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US journalist returns home after Ebola recovery

October 23, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — An American video journalist who recovered from Ebola is home in Rhode Island.

Ashoka Mukpo contracted the virus while working in Liberia as a freelance cameraman for NBC and other media outlets. The 33-year-old was released from the Nebraska Medical Center’s biocontainment unit Wednesday and flew back to Rhode Island by private charter with his father and girlfriend.

Dr. Mitchell Levy said Thursday his son is doing well and it’s wonderful to have him home in Providence.

“We’re so happy,” Levy said.

Levy also said his son plans to continue his recovery for a few days before reaching out to the media to share his story. He said the family is thankful for everyone’s support.

“Now that Ashoka is back again and gaining his health, I think he wants to speak for himself,” Levy added.

Across from Mukpo’s house in Providence, David Singer said the neighborhood is glad to have him back. Singer said he has known Mukpo since his family moved to the area 25 years ago.

“Our prayers were with him,” he said. “And we’re just extremely glad that he is safe and he is healthy.”

Mukpo arrived at the Nebraska hospital on Oct. 6 and was the second Ebola patient to be treated there. The first, 51-year-old Dr. Rick Sacra, also has recovered.

Mukpo’s treatment included an experimental Ebola drug called brincidofovir (brihn-sih-DAH’-fuh-veer), fluids and a transfusion from Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, who was treated in Atlanta.

Hospital officials said Tuesday that Mukpo’s blood had tested negative for the Ebola virus.

In a statement read at the hospital, Mukpo said he feels “profoundly blessed to be alive.” He also said he’s well aware of the “global inequalities” that allowed him to be flown to an American hospital, while many Liberians die alone with minimal care.

Liberia is the hardest hit of the West African nations being ravaged by Ebola.

Update hourly