News & Information About Ebola

Date: November 4, 2014

Ebola Update – 4 November 2014

President of the United States, Barack Obama, will meet today with advisors for an update on the response to the Ebola outbreak. Here is an update of the day’s news:


  • Reuters reports that a teacher at a Catholic School in Louisville, Kentucky (USA) has resigned after parents expressed concern about Ebola. The teacher, Susan Sherman, who is also a registered nurse, had recently traveled to Kenya. Upon her return parents and the school board asked that she take paid leave for 21 days to be safe. She instead resigned. Kenya, which is in East Africa, has not yet been affected by the West African Outbreak.
  • Director-general of the World Health Organization Margaret Chan says that pharmaceutical companies have turned their back on people who are unable to pay. She elaborated that the expectation of profit was one of the main reasons that a vaccine for Ebola had not yet been developed and also said that the World Health Organization has been raising this issue for over two decades. Two vaccines are currently being trialed and human trials are expected to start in 2015 pending the outcomes.
  • French Minister of Social Affairs and Health Marisol Touraine says that the United Nations worker who was repatriated to the nation is stable and receiving treatment and Begin military hospital in Paris. The Minister also said that it would be possible to administer experimental drugs if necessary but did not elaborate.
  • In a press conference in Seoul the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called on Korea to send more health care workers to West Africa to aid in the fight against Ebola. Kim extended the call for all Asian countries with capacity to contribute.
  • The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has said that the African Cup of Nations 2015 in Morocco will continue despite calls for the tournament to be postponed. A further meeting will be held in Cairo on the 11th of November 2014 to discuss logistics.
  • Xinhua News reports that Chinese manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) are experiencing a massive spike in demand. China currently holds a 50% market share in the production of medical protective gear.
  • On the heels of President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s call for all stakeholders to play a more central role in the country’s economic recovery, the Central Bank has reported growth in the nation’s public debt to US $658million. Economists are concerned about future debt creation related to the fight against the Ebola virus.

Post-Ebola Syndrome

Ebola has a typical case fatality rate averaging 70% which in itself presents a terrifying prospect for those infected by the virus. The 30% of cases that survive may go on to develop potentially long term symptoms resulting from the damage caused by the virus. As many as half of the survivors have reported health troubles after the initial recovery.

Loss of Vision

One of the most common complaints after surviving Ebola is the deterioration of vision. No studies have been done concluding that Ebola has an impact on vision and it is not possible to confirm without a doubt that vision damage is caused the virus but possible related causes could be from damage to the blood vessels surrounding the eyes and long term inflammation.

Headaches/Joint/Muscle Pain

The severe headaches that accompany the early Ebola symptoms may linger for up to 18 months in survivors. Survivors need to avoid the use of Aspirin after recovering which may limit the treatment options for some.  Joint and Muscle pain have also been noted by survivors.

Psychological Trauma

Survivors are often faced with the difficult task of returning to their lives after being isolated from society for an extended period of time. A significant stigma exists resulting in further isolation and exclusion by community members. Trauma counseling is suggested but regrettably not always available in remote or impoverished regions.

Future Questions

Ebola outbreaks have typically been limited in size and as such very few studies have been conducted on the long term effects of the virus. In the future there will certainly be more extensive studies done and it is foreseeable that the questions around liver and cardiovascular damage will need to be answered. It is not entirely clear how many of the after effects are caused by Ebola itself or the treatments typically used but it is certain that surviving Ebola is just the beginning of the journey for many people.

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