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Journalist with Ebola to get blood from survivor

OMAHA, Neb. - 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 that 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.

The hospital says Brantly was driving through Kansas City, Mo., and was able to give blood locally that was flown to Omaha. It says Mukpo will receive the transfusion Wednesday.

Such transfusions are believed to help Ebola patients because a survivor's blood contains antibodies to fight the disease.

Brantly also donated blood to the first Ebola patient treated at the Nebraska hospital, Dr. Richard Sacra.

Sacra received two transfusions of Brantly's blood, and doctors believe he too has made a full recovery.

Mukpo's parents said Mukpo wasn't sure how he contracted Ebola, but believed it may have happened when he was helping to decontaminate a vehicle in which an Ebola patient had died.

Mukpo's parents said they tried to convince their son, who spent two years in Liberia working with a nonprofit, not to return there last month.

"I told him he was crazy," Levy said. "Our son is strong-willed and determined. He has always lived by his integrity. He made a strong connection with the Liberian people and felt compelled to go back. I told him I thought he was crazy and I told him about the risks but none of it worked. I'm proud of him but I wished he would go somewhere safer."

Doctors in Omaha have said they would apply the lessons learned while treating Sacra in September. They were in constant communication with health centers where other Ebola patients are being treated, both in the U.S. and around the world.

While in Nebraska, Sacra received an experimental Tekmira Pharmaceuticals drug called TKM-Ebola, as well the blood transfusions from Brantly. Sacra also received supportive care, including IV fluids and aggressive electrolyte management.

But doctors have said they can't be sure what helped Sacra recover because he was receiving multiple treatments.

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