October 07, 2014 08:08
An American journalist diagnosed in Liberia with the Ebola virus has returned to the United States for treatment.
Ashoka Mukpo is in an isolation unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, where a spokesman said his condition is being evaluated to determine the course of his treatment.
At a news conference Monday a hospital official said Mukpo walked off an airplane under his own power and was wheeled into the hospital on a gurney.
Another hospital official said the patient is suffering from fever and nausea and his symptoms have not changed significantly in the past 24 hours.
Mukpo is receiving treatment at the Nebraska Medical Center's specialized isolation unit, the largest of four such facilities in the United States.
The freelance photojournalist is the fifth American diagnosed with the Ebola virus.
A Spanish nurse who helped treat an Ebola patient at a Madrid hospital has contracted the virus, becoming the first person to become infected outside West Africa. Spanish health officials Monday said the nurse was part of the medical team that treated a 69-year-old Spanish priest who died in a hospital last month after being flown back from Sierra Leone.
Despite the news from Spain and the hospitalization of a fifth American to contract the disease, U.S. President Barack Obama Monday said the chances for an Ebola outbreak in the United States are "extremely low."
Obama said his administration is working on additional protocols for screening airplane passengers to identify people who might have the deadly virus. He also said he will step up pressure on large countries, which he did not identify by name, to contribute aid to West African nations struggling to contain the worst outbreak of Ebola on record.
Mukpo was on assignment in Liberia for NBC News when he tested positive for Ebola last week and was sent back to the United States on a specially equipped plane.
Another American who contracted Ebola in Liberia, Dr. Rick Sacra, was the first patient with Ebola treated and released at the Nebraska facility last month.
Sacra was treated successfully for Ebola in Nebraska and discharged on Sept. 25. However, he was rehospitalized over the weekend in Worcester, Massachusetts, after being admitted on Saturday for what appeared to be a respiratory infection. He was released on Monday after being treated for the respiratory infection.
Liberian national Thomas Duncan, the first reported Ebola patient in the U.S., remained in critical condition on Monday at a hospital in Dallas, Texas. He has been hospitalized since September 28.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said health officials were closely monitoring 10 people who had direct contact with Duncan and are considered at greatest risk. Frieden said so far none has shown any symptoms.
Texas Governor Rick Perry said at a news conference on Monday that he is establishing a team of physicians and health care experts to deal with infectious diseases. The head of the Texas team, Dr. Brett Giroir, said, "We live in an interconnected world, where an outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere."
Ebola has taken about 3,500 lives in West Africa since the outbreak began last year. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the hardest-hit countries.
Some material for this report came from Reuters.
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