Where Ebola Lurks
It has been estimated that 10,000 or so were killed in the recent Ebola disease outbreak in West Africa. While treatment and prevention continues there to prevent another outbreak, for the most part, Ebola has been stopped from being a pandemic threat. Liberia is now declared Ebola free. The other countries, such as Guinea, continue to have Ebola cases, but these are less than 100. While the epidemic IS over, it still exists. It lurks in the area. It lurks dormant in humans like an alien virus that were once exposed. The fear now is that it may be resurgent during the rainy season.
Even the American doctor who had been infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone and treated in the USA may be a ticking bomb. Although, he was cured and has returned to a normal life, Ebola lurks inside him. This was recently stunningly found in his eye. After a month of being cured, the doctor began to suffer from a fading sight and pain in his left eye. After a period of time, he had his eye examined. Although, Ebola was nowhere found in his blood, doctors were shocked at finding it in his left eye! This was discovered after fluid was withdrawn from his eye with an needle. The odd thing was that although his eye did have Ebola, his tears and other eye surfaces were Ebola free. Many of the residual effects of Ebola that the doctor has- fatigue, muscle pain, hearing loss, have all been noted in the 10,000 or so survivors of Ebola. Even the dangerous inflammation of the eye has called uvetis.
With the virus now defeated, the new worry is about the 10,000 survivors that have Ebola lurking dormant inside them, as the doctor did. The problem is compounded because a regular medical doctor is not trained in the eye specialty. There are very few ophthalmologists in West Africa, which can detect it. The main hospital in Liberia, the center of the outbreak, has reported that 40% of the survivors have complained of eye pain, blurred vision and blind spots. Many have severe pain in their joints. The discovery of Ebola in the eye is simply startling. There is barely a vaccine for Ebola in the body, let alone in the eye. The eye seems to provide a sanctuary for viruses because of its immune privilege that baffle medical researchers. The damage caused by Ebola in the eye is another mystery. The doctor's left eye continues to fail and on the same side he has hearing loss. His eye iris color went from a blue to dark green. This is rare unless the viral infection is severe. It is permanent.
However, an experimental antiviral drug was given to the doctor. He was a human guinea pig. Over a month or so, the drug seemed to have provided some hope. It was a pill and over time, his left eye vision began to clear up slowly. After a month or so, could see using it. As time went on, even the blue color returned to his iris. The treating doctors are still not sure if the new drug was the reason or not. The theory is that the pill reduced the symptoms enough to allow his own immune system to develop and somehow together destroyed the Ebola virus.
But, with 10,000 survivors, all sharing similar symptoms, it is obvious that Ebola lurks inside the body in small amounts. In men, Ebola can survive in the testes for months and his semen is infected. What happens when the man has sex with a woman free of Ebola? Does she get it? Would a pregnancy be Ebola tainted?