Ebola-Stricken NBC News Freelancer Ashoka Mukpo ‘Turned the Corner’

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The NBC News freelancer who came down with Ebola while working in Liberia has made a significant improvement, his family said Saturday.

"Ashoka has been steadily improving over the past 48 hours. He has been symptom free during that time and is increasing his physical strength. His appetite has returned and he is asking for food. His spirits are much more uplifted and continue to improve," Ashoka Mukpo's family said in a statement.

"The team taking care of him in Nebraska now feels he has turned the corner and with time, will make a full recovery."

Mukpo, 33, received a blood transfusion from another Ebola survivor, Dr. Kent Brantly, as part of his treatment at The Nebraska Medical Center. He contracted the deadly disease while working as a camera operator for Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s team covering the outbreak in Liberia, which has been hardest-hit by the virus that has killed more than 4,000.

“Mr. Mukpo is still very weak, but his condition has improved since yesterday,” Dr. Phil Smith, medical director of the biocontainment unit at The Nebraska Medical Center, said in a statement. “He’s eating some solid food now, so we’re still headed in the right direction. However, he is still extremely weak, and the severity and unknown aspects of the disease we’re dealing with always have to be kept in mind.”

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport began screening passengers coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guniea on Saturday after the first person diagnosed with the disease inside the U.S., Thomas Eric Duncan, died on Wednesday.


— Kate Snow