NBC Freelance Photographer in Liberia Has Ebola (Updated)

How did this happen?

An American freelance cameraman working for NBC News in Liberia has tested positive for Ebola and will be flown back to the U.S. for treatment.

The freelancer, Ashoka Mukpo, 33, was hired Tuesday to be a second cameraman for NBC News Chief Medical Editor and Correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Snyderman is with three other NBC News employees on assignment in Monrovia, reporting on the Ebola outbreak.

Mukpo came down with symptoms on Wednesday, feeling tired and achy. As part of a routine temperature check, he discovered he was running a slight fever. He immediately quarantined himself and sought medical advice. On Thursday morning, Mukpo went to a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) treatment center to be tested for the virus. The positive result came back just under 12 hours later.


Good for him for not doing what Thomas Duncan did, and quarantining himself. His prognosis is good. The rest of Snyderman’s crew are not showing any Ebola symptoms at this point and say that they are going beyond CDC protocols to ensure that they do not get the virus.

But how did this happen? The NBC story doesn’t say, which suggests that they don’t know, which is…unsettling.

According to current epidemiology, Ebola is difficult to contract. It takes direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms of the disease. How does a photographer, then, contract it?

Update: He may have been splashed with something while sanitizing a car.

Mukpo said her son’s virus is in the “early stages” and she is optimistic he will be cured.

Ashoka told his mother he has an idea of how he may have contracted Ebola.

“At one point he was trying to help decontaminate a car. He had most of the protective gear on, but he thinks something might have splashed on his body at that point. That’s one possibility, but really, one doesn’t know fully,” Diana said.


If that’s the only lead they have…



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