NBC Cameraman Contracts Ebola in Liberia

By
MONROVIA, LIBERIA - OCTOBER 02:  People pass an Ebola awareness mural on October 2, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. More than 3,200 people have died in West Africa due to the epidemic.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Photo: John Moore/2014 Getty Images

A freelance cameraman working for NBC News in Liberia has tested positive for Ebola, marking the first time an American journalist has contracted the virus. The 33-year-old cameraman, whose name is being withheld, was hired to work with NBC News chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman on Tuesday and began feeling tired and achy on Wednesday. He immediately quarantined himself, then went to a Médecins Sans Frontières treatment center to be tested on Thursday. “He called me and said, ‘Dad, you’ve got to call me right away. I think I’m in trouble,’” the patient’s father, a physician in Rhode Island, told the Wall Street Journal.

The cameraman will return to the United States for treatment, and the State Department is making arrangements for a flight out of Monrovia on Sunday. The patient has been in Liberia for three years, working at one point for a nongovernmental organization. He returned about a month ago to cover the Ebola outbreak. “I am proud that he has that integrity, but as a father, I’m very nervous about the fact that he has Ebola,” his father said. “I think we’ll all feel relieved when he’s on that plane.”

In addition to Dr. Nancy Snyderman, there are three other NBC News employees covering the situation in Monrovia. NBC News president Deborah Turness said in a statement that they aren’t showing any signs of infection, “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.”