NBC News Freelancer Ashoka Mukpo Arrives in US for Ebola Treatment

Kate Snow, Daniel Arkin and Christopher Nelson

The freelance NBC News cameraman who was diagnosed in Liberia with the Ebola virus arrived in the United States early Monday on his way to get treatment at a Nebraska hospital.

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Ashoka Mukpo left Liberia on a specially-equipped airplane at just before 5:30 p.m. ET (9:30 p.m. local time), walking onto the plane with assistance, officials said. The jet made a brief refueling stop in Bangor, Maine, early Monday en route to Omaha.

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Mukpo, 33, is the fifth American diagnosed with Ebola. He was hired Tuesday to be a second cameraman for NBC News Chief Medical Editor and Correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

He tested positive for Ebola on Thursday. Snyderman, who spoke with Mukpo on the phone Saturday morning, said he was in "great spirits" — and in a positive sign, she said, he was eating and drinking on his own.

Mukpo's father, Dr. Mitchell Levy, said his eldest child had been anxious to leave Liberia. Speaking to NBC News on Sunday, Levy said Mukpo was feeling "not that ill."

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The Nebraska Medical Center, regarded as one of the few health facilities in the U.S. with expertise in Ebola, also treated American doctor Rick Sacra, who contracted Ebola while working with the relief organization SIM.

Sacra, 51, was declared virus-free and discharged from the hospital Sept. 25. He was admitted to a Boston hospital Saturday for what doctors believe is pneumonia.