A comment in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, first published online in April: Sequelae after Ebola virus disease: even when it's over it's not over. Excerpt:
Although still far from over, the Ebola virus disease outbreak in west Africa seems to be waning. With almost 25 000 cases reported up to now and an estimated case fatality rate of 50–70%, about 10 000 to 15 000 survivors of this disease exist in the region. What health problems do these survivors face?
Some answers are provided by a study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases by Danielle Clark and colleagues, who assessed 49 adult survivors of Ebola virus disease matched with 157 controls 29 months after an Ebola virus outbreak in Uganda in 2007. Survivors were at significantly increased risk of ocular deficits (retro-orbital pain and blurred vision), hearing loss, neurological abnormalities, sleep disturbance, arthralgias, memory loss, and various other constitutional symptoms and chronic health problems.
Although the study by Clark and colleagues is of a different virus species (Bundibugyo Ebola virus) and population than the ones implicated in the continuing crisis in west Africa, there is much reason to believe that their findings nevertheless apply to survivors of the Zaire Ebola virus presently circulating in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Similar findings have been shown from early anecdotal reports from those west African countries and published reports and smaller studies on Ebola virus disease survivors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire Ebola virus) and northern Uganda (Sudan Ebola virus).
Neither can these post-Ebola virus disease sequelae be cast off as minor aches and pains. In one report, survivors were unable to perform their previous work up to 1 year after infection, with obvious economic consequences.
In view of these findings, services for Ebola virus disease survivors should be established, a task that is easier said than done considering that many of the governmental and non-governmental agencies involved are still grappling with the heavy burden of acute outbreak control activities while trying to re-establish the broader health-care system.
A further challenge is that Ebola virus disease survivors might need subspecialised services not readily available in the afflicted countries, such as ophthalmic care (including slit lamp examination to diagnose possible uveitis, which seems to be common) and mental health services.