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.
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.
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.
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.
A UN Worker has been transported from Sierra Leone to France for treatment of Ebola. This is the second French national flown home for treatment. Here is a summary of the day’s news:
- A woman in the United Kingdom with a travel history that includes West Africa was hospitalized at St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London upon suspicion of Ebola. The Accidents and Emergency section was cordoned off and she was moved to the Clinical Infections Unit to be isolated. The woman later tested negative.
- Sierra Express Media reports that angry youths chased and threw rocks at an ambulance carrying an Ebola patient causing the driver to lose control and flip over into a ditch. This is not the first incident of its kind in Sierra Leone. The patient is unharmed. Officials in the nation have also said that while they are grateful for the support to fight the disease, they want to make sure that money is being spent appropriately and are considering an audit of Ebola donors.
- The New Dawn Liberia reports that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has campaigned for the nation’s Central Bank, private financial institutions and other stakeholders to play an active role in the nation’s post-Ebola financial recovery. Johnson-Sirleaf said that the country was making good progress against the virus and it was now time to build a stronger economy.
- A US $500million lawsuit has been filed against Kimberly-Clark Corp. alleging that its Breathable High Performance Surgical Gowns, which they claim gives maximum protection against infectious diseases including Ebola, failed industry tests which found blood and other particles were able to pass through the material. Despite the test results, the company allegedly continued to market the product as before.
- The Spanish nursing assistant, Maria Romero, has been moved out of isolation into a general ward. Maria was given the all clear last week but still needs to recover from the effects of the viral disease. Meanwhile, American Doctor Craig Spencer is now said to be in a stable condition.
Scientists at Washington University have concluded by a study of mice that genetics could play a role in how you respond to the Ebola Virus Disease. Scientists noticed that mice which survived showed higher genetic activity at the alleles responsible for the manufacture of antibodies. Here is a round-up of the day’s news:
- Kaci Hickox, the nurse who fought against isolation, has been temporarily ordered by the state of Maine to maintain a 3-feet distance from people when she goes out. She has also been ordered to submit herself to active monitoring and has to coordinate all travel with health authorities, ABC News reported. Furthermore she may not be present in public places. Kaci said earlier this week that she would go to court if the state of Maine tried enforcing isolation in the same way as the state of New Jersey.
- Russia and Guinea have signed memoranda to establish a legal framework to benefit the Guinean health system to better fight Ebola but also improve care in the future according to Guinéenews. Guinea’s Health Minister also announced further expansion of treatment facilities and protocols as well as the buying of new equipment and widespread distribution of essentials to help fight the virus.
- The Liberian Observer reports that Japan has contributed 7 ambulances worth more than US $ 400 000 to the Government of Liberia to aid the fight against the virus. International and local stakeholders have made progress as noted by the World Health Organization Assistant Director-General, Bruce Aylward, who earlier this week said that the outbreak in Liberia appears to be slowing.
- In Sierra Leone the virus continues to spread as two villages near Freetown-Lungi International Airport have had twenty bodies buried over two days. One of the villages saw a major rise in cases after burial clearance was allegedly given to an untrained person based on misinformation. All Ebola victims must be buried by Officials. How this misinformation occurred is unclear but a dispute has arisen regarding the details. Officials in the nation also called for a change in attitude to help fight the virus. Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister has also said that no citizen from his country has been diagnosed outside its borders.
- A US couple has pranked their son by taking his temperature and declaring that he has Ebola. In two days the video on Youtube has garnered more than 2 million views with mixed reaction to its appropriateness.
While facilities are struggling to cope with the number of affected individuals in West Africa, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy has contributed by sending Argus, a hospital ship, to help manage the virus. The ship has one hundred beds aboard and will aim lighten the load on treatment facilities in Sierra Leone as well as deliver crucial supplies. Here is a summary of the day’s stories:
- The American Nurse, Kaci Hickox, who questioned the implication on human rights of a mandatory isolation period in New Jersey, and was later let go under conditions of the policy, threatened to go to court if the State of Maine attempted to do the same. It was noted by an official that health care workers who fight the disease in other countries, should be willing to take necessary steps to prevent spreading the virus. Hickox defied all arguments she claims are not founded in science and took a bike ride. Police were unable to detain her because there wasn’t a valid court order. Her 21-day incubation period is scheduled to end on the 10th of November 2014.
- Over one hundred thousand people have signed a petition requesting the Spanish Health Minister to resign. The demand comes after the poor handling of Maria Romero’s Ebola infection which led to a court order for her dog, Excalibur, to be euthanized. The Nurse, upon making a full recovery, said she was disappointed with the decision but would get a new puppy. All contacts have been cleared of the virus.
- The Czech Republic is currently on the hunt for a group of people who threatened to spread Ebola if they are not paid the equivalent of €1 million in Bitcoin (±3700BTC). The first payment was meant to be made on Monday. The Czech government has said that while the individuals cover their tracks and are difficult to find, the citizens have nothing to worry about. The perpetrators could face up to 12 years in prison if caught and convicted.
The five year old boy who was hospitalized in New York after a family trip to Guinea has tested negative for the virus. At the same medical center, Bellevue Hospital, Dr. Craig Spencer is reported to be in a serious but stable condition. Here is a round-up of the day’s news:
- The Texas nurse, Amber Vinson, whose family spoke to media last week declaring that Doctors could no longer detect Ebola has been given the official all clear and will be released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Reuters reports.
- The United States which sent military and financial aid to Liberia has announced that 12 out of 17 Ebola treatment units are near completion or have already been completed. The Liberian House of Representatives also approved loan agreements totaling US $62.31 million for the fight against Ebola, the Liberian Observer reports. The People’s Republic of China has also announced a US $82 million investment for the fight against the virus.
- President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, said 5000 health care workers are needed to address the outbreak in the three worst affected countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Kim spoke from the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The United Nations has set the target of 70% of all cases being treated in medical facilities as well as 70% of all burials being in line with Ebola protocols. There was also concern that excessive isolation policies could deter people from volunteering.
- A potential Ebola patient who had been taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore has tested negative for the virus.
- In Japan, a Canadian journalist who showed symptoms of Ebola when he arrived at Haneda Airport yesterday afternoon has also tested negative for the virus. Japan recently implemented a policy to check recent travel histories of all international travelers.