In a discovery that has left doctors baffled, Ebola was found inside the eyes of a former patient several months after the virus left his blood.
Dr. Ian Crozier contracted the disease in Sierra Leone last year while treating Ebola patients in the government hospital in Kenema. He was evacuated to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in September, becoming the third American with the disease to be airlifted from West Africa.
Although he was cured of the disease by December, “returning from the edge of death,” he continued to have problems such as blurred vision along with pain and inflammation in the eye, even the color of his iris turned from gray to green. When doctors sampled his aqueous humor (the fluid inside the eye), it tested positive for Ebola.
“It felt almost personal that the virus could be in my eye without me knowing it,” Dr. Crozier told The New York Times of his infection, adding that the color change felt “like an assault.”
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"This case highlights an important complication with major implications for both individual and public health," state the authors of a report of Crozier’s case in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Some other survivors reported the same issues with their eyes but it’s still not known how frequent it is. The virus can also persist in semen for several months after the supposed cure.
Ebola has infected more than 26,000 people since December 2013 in West Africa, however, the World Health Organization recently said that the number of cases reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone dropped to its lowest total this year. Liberia, which reportedly has had the most deaths in the outbreak – more than 4,700 – is about to declare the outbreak over.
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