Ebola Infects Fourth American, An NBC News Freelancer In Liberia, & He's Coming Home
Despite reports that the virus has been contained in Senegal and Nigeria, Ebola continues to infect people in other parts of Africa. On Thursday, an NBC camerman became the fourth American diagnosed with Ebola, and according to NBC's reports, he will be returning to the United States for treatment. Currently, another patient, recently identified as Thomas Eric Duncan, is being treated in Dallas for the disease.
According to NBC News, the 33-year-old freelancer was commissioned just days ago to work as a cameraman for NBC News Chief Medical Editor and Correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who is currently stationed in Monrovia, Liberia, reporting on the ongoing Ebola crisis. Snyderman, along with the three other people on her team, will also be returned to the United States so that they may be closely monitored and treated should they also be infected.
The cameraman, who NBC has not yet identified, has been in Liberia since 2011, completing various assignments. He first began to exhibit symptoms of Ebola on Wednesday, and reported feeling tired and achy. When he took his temperature, he discovered that he was feverish, whereupon he quarantined himself and called for medical attention.
The next morning, he went to a hospital to undergo testing for Ebola, and less than 12 hours later, doctors from Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, confirmed his worst fears — he had the virus.
In a note to her staff, NBC News President Deborah Turness wrote,
We are doing everything we can to get him the best care possible. He will be flown back to the United States for treatment at a medical center that is equipped to handle Ebola patients.
Thus far, Emory University in Georgia and The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha have received stricken American patients. There are two other facilities that are well-suited to deal with the latest American's battle with Ebola — the NIH centers in Montana and Maryland. It seems unlikely that the patient will be flown to Dallas, particularly considering the recent quarantine of a number of individuals who were recently in contact with Duncan.
Turness also noted that once Snyderman and her team were returned to the United States, they would be quarantined for no less than three weeks, "which is at the most conservative end of the spectrum of medical guidance" to prevent the further spread of the disease.
At this time, there is little further information known about the American's status or his identity, but Turness has assured NBC staff both at home and in Liberia that all possible precautions are being taken to keep employees safe.
The following is the full text of Turness' statement:
As you know, Dr. Nancy Snyderman and our news team are in Liberia covering the Ebola outbreak. One of the members of their crew is an American freelance cameraman who has worked in Liberia for the past three years and has recently been covering the epidemic for US media outlets. On Tuesday he began working with our team. Today, he tested positive for Ebola.
We are doing everything we can to get him the best care possible. He will be flown back to the United States for treatment at a medical center that is equipped to handle Ebola patients. We are consulting with the CDC, Medicins Sans Frontieres and others. And we are working with Dr. Nancy on the ground in Liberia.
We are also taking all possible measures to protect our employees and the general public. The rest of the crew, including Dr. Nancy, are being closely monitored and show no symptoms or warning signs. However, in an abundance of caution, we will fly them back on a private charter flight and then they will place themselves under quarantine in the United States for 21 days – which is at the most conservative end of the spectrum of medical guidance.
We know you share our concern for our colleagues and we will continue to keep you up to date and informed. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me or David Verdi with any questions.
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