US Journalist With Ebola Will Be Treated In Nebraska

PHOTO: Ashoka Mukpo, pictured in this undated Facebook photo, has been identified as the freelance American journalist who tested positive for EbolaPlayFacebook
WATCH American With Ebola Is 'Extraordinarily Relieved,' Mom Says

The American journalist who tested positive for Ebola while working in Liberia will be transported to Nebraska for treatment, officials said today.

Ashoka Mukpo, who was working as a freelance cameraman for NBC, will be the second American to be treated at the Nebraska Medical Center when he arrives in Omaha on Monday. The Nebraska facility treated Dr. Richard Sacra last month after he also contracted the disease in Liberia.

"We are ready, willing and able to care for this patient," said Dr Phil Smith, the director of the center's biocontainment unit.

"The experience we have in treating Dr. Sacra should prove to be very valuable in treating this patient," said Dr. Angela Hewlett, the associate medical director of the biocontainment unit. "We learned a lot about treatment methods the first time around and have been able to refine our operation processes in several ways."

One such change was the creation of a lab inside the isolated unit where blood can be tested directly, rather than having to run the tests in a different part of the facility.

The Nebraska Medical Center is one of only four biocontainment units throughout the United States. There is another unit at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md., one in Missoula, Mt., and a third at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Ga., which is where Dr. Kent Brantley and nurse Nancy Writebol, the first two Americans to catch the disease, were treated.

News of the transfer comes hours after Mukpo's mother, Diana, told how she knew her son had Ebola as soon as she was told he was sick.

"My husband was on his way back from a medical conference in Barcelona, and he called me in the middle of the night and told me Ashoka was sick," his mother Diana Mukpo told ABC News affiliate WLNE. "I knew immediately what that meant."

The family has been coordinating with the State Department and she said that the plan is for a plane to bring him back to the United States on Sunday. It has now been confirmed that he will land in Omaha on Monday.

"Of course it's nerve wracking... needing to wait two or three days before he can be back to get optimum medical care," Diana Mukpo said.

PHOTO: Diane Mukpo, the mother of the American journalist who tested positive for Ebola, has been able to speak to her son and says that he is doing better.WLNE
Diane Mukpo, the mother of the American journalist who tested positive for Ebola, has been able to speak to her son and says that he is doing "better".

She said that, in her latest call with her son, he reported that he was "a little better today."

"He was very nervous yesterday, of course, it's a very frightening experience," she said.

"I think he's extraordinarily relieved that he's going to be evacuated and come back to the United States for optimum care," Diana Mukpo said.

According to his mother, Ashoka Mukpo had spent two years working for a Liberian NGO before returning to the U.S. earlier this summer.

"He feels a tremendous commitment to the Liberian people and the Liberian culture, and when he heard about the Ebola outbreak he felt compelled to go back... much to the anxiety of his parents and family, obviously," Diana Mukpo said.

Ashoka Mukpo contributed to reports for various news outlets before getting sick, but also shared emotional updates on his personal Facebook page.

"Man oh man I have seen some bad things in the last two weeks of my life," he wrote in one such post on Sept. 18, two weeks before testing positive for the disease. "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."