Hopes are rising that the worst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa may finally be over. Liberia, once the worst affected country, has had no new case since March 27, and it is hoped it will be declared Ebola free this week.
But signs are emerging of a disturbing ‘post-Ebola syndrome’ which seems to be affecting some survivors, who are reporting a variety of symptoms such as loss of sight and hearing. A WHO official said she had come across two people who were now blind.
Other complaints include severe joint, muscle and chest pain, and extreme fatigue. Experts acknowledge that so far the focus has, understandably, been on trying to save people’s lives, and that little research has been done on the disease’s long term effects, so that it is not even clear whether the symptoms reported are caused by the illness or its treatment.
The current outbreak is by far the deadliest the world has ever seen, killing 11,000 people. The previous worst came in 1976 when 280 died. (See also my blogs of April 4, June 7, Aug 8, Oct 30, 2014, and Jan 29, Feb 16, 2015.)
*Thanks to York Library, New Hampshire for this listing of my book Disaster! http://www.seacoastonline.com/article/20150428/NEWS/150429058/101017/NEWS