OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The first American flown back to the U.S. for treatment of Ebola this summer has donated blood to the most recent one to return from West Africa with the disease, the Nebraska Medical Center said Wednesday.
The hospital said it called Dr. Kent Brantly on Tuesday to tell him his blood type matches that of Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance video journalist who arrived at the medical center Monday.
Brantly was driving through Kansas City, Mo., and was able to give blood locally that was flown to Omaha, the hospital said in a statement. It said Mukpo would receive the transfusion Wednesday.
Such transfusions are believed to help Ebola patients because a survivor’s blood contains antibodies to fight the disease, which on Wednesday claimed the life of the only person ever diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian who started showing symptoms during a visit to Dallas, had been in critical condition in a hospital isolation ward for several days before he died.
Brantly, who was treated for Ebola in Atlanta, also donated blood to the first Ebola patient treated at the Nebraska hospital, Dr. Rick Sacra. Brantly and Sacra also happened to be friends from their missionary work.
“We are incredibly grateful that Dr. Brantly would take the time to do this, not once, but twice,” said Dr. Angela Hewlett, who is helping oversee Mukpo’s treatment.
Mukpo is also receiving an experimental Ebola drug called brincidofovir and IV fluids to manage his electrolyte levels. That’s similar to the treatment Sacra received during his three weeks at the Omaha hospital, but Mukpo is receiving a different experimental drug.
Mukpo’s father, Dr. Mitchell Levy, said Tuesday that his son was experiencing nausea and some vomiting and diarrhea.
The World Health Organization estimates that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 3,400 people.
Mukpo became infected while working as a freelance cameraman for Vice News, NBC News and other media outlets. He returned to Liberia in early September to help highlight the toll of the Ebola outbreak.
Mukpo, who is from Providence, Rhode Island, previously spent two years in Liberia working for a nonprofit.
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