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.