The patients afflicted with the Ebola virus in the United States have not been symptom-free since their recovery. A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the lasting effects of the virus.
Only eight patients survived treatment for Ebola in the U.S. in 2014, and six of them reported experiencing hair loss, fatigue, and joint pain after they were considered to be cured. Six of the eight Ebola survivors also experienced insomnia, anxiety, depression, or short-term memory loss. Five of them reported eye pain and discomfort and blurriness.
Although many of these ailments subsided after a few months, all but one of the survivors reported having at least one lingering issue five months after being cured of the virus.
It’s unknown why these long-term effects occur. However, some could be the result of the body’s own immune system chemicals that are released to fight the disease and cause unpleasant side effects of their own. The disease itself can also contribute to dehydration and low blood pressure, which can result in tissue or muscle damage.
These finding indicate that following up with Ebola survivors and promoting awareness of the long-term effects of the virus could be beneficial in order to understand why these effects occur and how long they typically last. More research is needed to follow Ebola survivors and determine the complications.