Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have discovered that survivors of the Ebola virus still experience various health issues months after they recovered from the debilitating disease.
In a report featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Tim Uyeki and his colleagues from the CDC's Ebola response team found that patients who recovered from the infection still suffered from at least one chronic health problem for several months following their discharge from the hospital.
Ebola survivors reported of having problems with their muscles, joints, senses and even their moods. Some patients also said they had issues with hearing loss and blurry vision.
"The story is not over in Ebola virus patients once they're discharged and go home," Uyeki said. "They may suffer from a wide range of illnesses."
Uyeki recounted that 11 individuals infected by the Ebola virus were treated in the United States, with two of the patients eventually dying from the disease.
In March, the CDC researchers examined eight Ebola survivors following their release from the hospital. Some of the patients had already been discharged from the medical facility for at least seven months, while some had been released for four months.
A ninth patient infected with Ebola was supposed to be included in the study but was still undergoing treatment by the time of the survey.
Uyeki and his team discovered that the most common symptoms the Ebola survivors had after their release from the hospital were hair loss, lethargy and joint pain. Six of the participants said they experienced each of these indicators.
The findings also showed that five of the survivors had blurry vision, five had insomnia, four had heart palpitations, four had anxiety or depression, three had burning sensations in their skin, three had shortness of breath, three had muscle pain, two had inflamed eyes and one had hearing loss.
Of these post-Ebola symptoms, the inflammation of the eye known as uveitis is considered to be the most serious case as it may have a great impact on the survivors. Uyeki explained that if an individual with the condition is left untreated, he or she may suffer from a permanent loss of vision.
The researchers have yet to determine whether the participants of the study still experience these health issues as no follow-up examination has been carried out as of the moment.
While complaints regarding the symptoms were considered to be common, the duration and frequency with which the health issues occur are still unknown.
Dr. Lee Norman, an expert on Ebola infection at the University of Kansas Hospital said it was not surprising to find out that survivors experienced chronic symptoms even after they recover from the infection.
He said that the CDC study, however, provides them with valuable information that they can use to determine the range of symptoms that patients may suffer from.
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