DALLAS (Christian Examiner)—Ashoka Mukpo, the freelance cameraman who contracted Ebola while on assignment for NBC News in Liberia was declared virus free Oct. 21 and will be released from the Nebraska Medical Center today.
Blood tests confirmed the 33-year-old Rhode Island native no longer has the virus in his blood stream. He arrived at Nebraska Medical Center Oct. 6 and is the second Ebola patient to successfully be treated there.
Mukpo expressed his "profound relief" on Twitter yesterday and said, "I'm so lucky. Wish everyone who got sick could feel this."
He tweeted well wishes to the Texas nurses who contracted the virus after caring for Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. "Still thinking about those nurses. Look forward to the day you two get news like this too."
Later in the day, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a statement on its website that one of those nurse's Nina Pham, 26, was improving.
Pham had been upgraded from "fair" to "good" condition, NIH noted in its release, which also said the young woman "has expressed her gratitude for everyone's concerns and well wishes."
Pham, said to be a devout catholic, was admitted to NIH Special Clinical Studies Unit Oct.16, after spending a week in confinement at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas where she contracted the disease.
Gov. Rick Perry also issued a press release Oct. 21 stating any future Ebola diagnoses within the state of Texas will be sent directly to a state-of-the-art Ebola treatment and infectious disease bio containment facility in North Texas.
"In the event of another diagnosis this facility will allow us to act quickly to limit the virus' reach and give patients the care they need in an environment where health care workers are specially trained and equipped to deal with the unique requirements of this disease," Gov. Perry said in the release.
The establishment of the North Texas Facility is among several recommendations made by a newly created Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, a result of an Executive Order issued by the Texas governor Oct. 6.
The facility's operation is said to be a partnership and coordinated effort of three of the region's leading health care providers, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Methodist Hospital System, and Parkland Hospital System. If the unit is activated staffing and equipment will be moved to facility on an as needed basis.