Studies: Ebola survivors suffer long-term, serious effects

Ebola
Medical workers wearing protective clothing while carrying an Ebola victim in a body bag.  Photo: Getty Images

The 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people is still causing havoc.  Recent studies have shown that Ebola survivors are suffering long-term, serious repercussions such as headaches, memory loss, loss of vision, and infected semen. Thousands of people from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are suffering from the infection, according to researchers.

Pauline Cafferkey, a Scottish nurse, who suffered life-threatening complications from the virus, was readmitted into the hospital ten months after contracting the Ebola virus.  However, the 39-year-old was not included in this new study, but studying her health will help doctors understand patients’ future complications in regards to the virus.

“We wanted to find out more about possible continued long-term brain health problems for the more than 17,000 survivors of the infection,” said Dr. Lauren Bowen of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Bowden and her team recently studied 82 Liberian Ebola survivors, and discovered that most of the survivors had some sort of neurological difficulties at least six months after recovering from the virus.

At the American Academy of Neurology’s annual gathering on Wednesday, scientists drew conclusions from the Prevail III study, an ongoing study of former Ebola patients and their close contacts.  

“Mosoka Fallah of the Liberian Ministry of Health, working with a larger group of patients as part of the same trial, found 60 percent of the more than 1,000 survivors his team looked at had eye problems, 53 percent had musculoskeletal problems and 68 percent had neurological difficulties.”

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