Second Ebola patient released from UNMC

The second Ebola patient treated at UNMC has been released. (Photo courtesy of MPBurrows/Flickr)
October 22, 2014 - 5:30pm

The second patient treated for ebola at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha has been released after testing negative for the virus.

Ashoka Mukpo was working as a free-lance videographer for NBC News in Liberia when he contracted Ebola earlier this month. After his diagnosis, Mukpo was transported to UNMC. He was released Wednesday after a little more than two weeks of treatment at the hospital’s biocontainment unit.

Mukpo was in the hospital five fewer days than Dr. Richard Sacra, the first Ebola patient to be treated at UNMC.

Mukpo received the same basic treatment as Sacra, but was able to take an experimental drug in pill form, where as Sacra needed an IV.  

At a news conference, Dr. Phil Smith, who assisted in both men’s treatment, said with each case treated at UNMC, the medical community gains valuable insight about how to deal with Ebola.

"With this patient gone, and before we get another patient, I think we’re going to use that time to try and share our knowledge with the rest of the world," Dr. Smith said.

Secretery of Defense Chuck Hagel has already reached out to staff at UNMC and asked for their help in forming new protocols on how to deal with Ebola.

Mukpo declined to appear at the news conference, but did submit a written statement which was read by UNMC Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Gold.

Mukpo’s statement said in part, “I feel profoundly blessed to be alive, and in the same breath aware of the global inequalities that allowed me to be flown to an American hospital when so many Liberians die alone with minimal care. I know firsthand that this disease is treatable and hope that some approximation of the care I received can be given to sick Africans.”

Hospital officials said it is up to the Centers for Disease Control and the State Department to decide when UNMC might be receiving another Ebola patient. However, officials said they’re ready now if called upon.

Editor's Note:  A correction has been made to the original version of this story, which misidentified Chuck Hagel's current title.



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