NBC News cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who has recovered after contracting Ebola, said in an interview with the Associated Press that covering the disease’s outbreak in Liberia “was worth the risk.”
Mukpo said he decided to cover the outbreak in Liberia because he had previously worked there for two years as a human rights advocate.
“I saw these awful things happening to this country that I had a connection to,” he said. “There was still some confusion about what the international response could be. I felt like, ‘OK, if I shoot film, I write, I’m going to help be part of the solution to this.’ And I felt like that was worth the risk.”
Mukpo, who contracted the disease after working as a freelance cameraman for a month, said he would consider returning to the country in the right circumstances, but for the time being he is enjoying being with his family in Rhode Island.
He told the AP that his reaction on seeing his temperature recorded at 101.3 was “pure fear.” Having Ebola felt as if his body was “at war,” and he lost 15 pounds in one week. He said he wasn’t sure how he contracted the disease, as he said he was careful while working in Liberia.
Not being able to hold the hand of a loved one while being treated was difficult, he said, and he told the AP that he knew he was in trouble when he saw his medical team in full protective suits.
“The only thing you can see is their eyes. And they’re dripping with chlorine,” Mukpo said. “You just realize what a bad situation you’re in when your caregivers have to come in with such an incredible amount of protection.”