Recent studies show Ebola virus lingers on in the body, perhaps for ever

A new study, prompted by experiences Ebola survivors have been having a relapse, has shown that there is a lot to learn about Ebola disease and the need to eradicate it not only from villages and the city but clean it out from patients’ bodies for good.

An infectious disease specialist at Tulane University and a senior consultant to the World Health Organization, Dr. Daniel Bausch, has confessed that if there’s anything the Ebola outbreak has taught him, it is the fact that a lot needs to be learned from an infection. Bausch is one of the world’s leading experts on the Ebola virus.

The Royal Free Hospital has re-admitted a Scottish nurse who had earlier survived Ebola, putting her back to isolation because she has experienced a relapse and her “condition has deteriorated and she is now critically ill.”

This raises the question, substantiated by two new studies, that Ebola virus tends to linger on in a male survivor’s semen for close to a year even after he’s been treated and declared free of the disease; and a man can possibly transmit the virus to his sexual partner one year after been cured of the disease.

With about 17,000 people surviving the Ebola epidemic, researchers are starting to see a lot of twists after these survivors have been cured of the virus. Messaoudi, a viral immunologist and professor of biomedical sciences at the University of California, Riverside, stated that an Ebola virus is explosive and it replicates like crazy, destroying everything in its path.

Not much is known about Ebola after survivors get cured and declared healthy again, but researchers in their bid to know the aftermath of the disease have started to monitor survivors of past epidemics. About 19 people who survived the disease in 1995 in Congo, West Africa, experienced severe joint and vision problems after they were cured of the disease; but the researchers also found the virus can linger in the semen and eyes of survivors.

About 49 people who survived the Ebola outbreak of 2007 in Uganda experienced blurred vision and eye inflammation two years after they had the disease; while some had joint pain, sleeping problems, inability to swallow food, hearing loss, memory loss and confusion.

Meanwhile, 105 survivors from Guinea in the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak reported they also experienced problems, with 90% saying they had severe joint pain and 98% saying they couldn’t eat and hated the sight of food. They also reported difficulty with short-term memory, headaches, sleeplessness, insomnia, dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, sexual dysfunction, and decreased libido and exercise tolerance.

Recent research shows the virus can be flushed out of the bloodstream, but it gets to linger in the semen, eyes, spinal cord; and Dr. Ian Crozier who got the disease in Sierra Leone but was cured of it now has one of his eyes turn green, while the other remains the natural blue – a case of post-Ebola syndrome.