Dr. Kent Brantly, the Fort Worth doctor who became the first American flown back to the United States to be treated for Ebola, is urging calm for people in Dallas and elsewhere who are worried about contracting the deadly disease.
Brantly, who has fully recovered from the virus and whose blood has been used to treat other patients, got emotional several times while speaking to an auditorium full of people at Abilene Christian University. He acknowledged fears some have shared since Thomas Duncan was hospitalized in Dallas with Ebola.
"There has been a lot of panic, a lot of -- I hesitate to use word hysteria -- around the events in Dallas," Brantly said. "I just want to tell everyone that yes, Ebola is serious devastating disease and for those number of people who have been identified as contacts of an Ebola patient, they need to monitoring themselves, they need to be cooperating with the authorities, with the CDC, and its very serious for them, but for the rest of us we don't need to be worried."
Brantly says people should be finding ways to help the outbreak in West Africa, "not worrying that because we live 100 miles from a hospital that treated a patient that we are at risk."
"Our neighbors are the people in West Africa who are suffering far beyond what we can understand or fathom," he said. "You have seen news reports and I assure you the reality on the ground in West Africa is worse than the worst report you have seen. And our attention and our efforts need to be on loving the people there."
Brantly contracted Ebola while working as a medical missionary in Liberia. His alma mater followed his story closely as he fought the virus that nearly took his life.
Recently, Brantly donated blood to an NBC News freelance photographer Ashoka Mukpo, who is currently battling Ebola at Nebraska Medical Center's biocontainment unit.
Brantly was driving through Kansas City, Missouri, when he got the call that his blood type matches Mukpo. He was able to give blood locally that was flown to Omaha, the hospital said in a statement.
Brantly was willing to give his blood to Duncan, but their blood types didn't match.
"If I could say a word to family of Mr. Duncan right now, I would express my deepest sympathy, my heart is broken for his family," Brantly said.
Brantly, who is an ACU graduate, and his wife Amber were special guests during the university's homecoming.
"For us, this is not just one of many speaking engagement requests we got," Brantly said prior to his appearance. "ACU really is important to us. It has been formational in our lives, and we are honored, humbled and pleased to get to be there for homecoming."