Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Ebola nightmare does not end with recovery

06 February 2015, 19:16

Geneva - People who survive Ebola continue to suffer from serious physical and psychological ailments and require care long after the deadly virus has left their bodies, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Nearly 9,000 people have died from Ebola since the west Africa-centred outbreak began 13 months ago, but many thousands more have survived the virus and are facing the aftermath.

Also read: 'Encouraging' Ebola drug results in Guinea

"There's a huge need for ongoing care for people who've recovered from Ebola," WHO technical advisory Margaret Harris told reporters in Geneva.

Survivors suffer a wide range of symptoms, including muscle and joint pains, including chronical arthritis, and sight loss, she said.

In addition, they are often traumatised by their experience and face a variety of psychological problems.

"It's becoming clear that the disease doesn't just end in the acute phase," Harris said.

The UN health agency convened an international meeting of experts last week to discuss needed revisions to Ebola treatment guidelines.

The experts, including clinicians working with Ebola patients in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone at the epicentre of the outbreak, had agreed that far more attention needed to be paid to survivors of the virus, Harris said.

"There's a need to have such people on registries so they can be followed up," she said.

Children especially at risk

It was especially important to follow up children who had been infected with Ebola, she said, pointing out that it remained unclear "what the psychological effects of what they've been through are (and) if this will have any effect on their neurological development and other development."

The experts also recommended a range of other changes in the way Ebola patients are treated and managed.

They found that young children and pregnant women, who have had very high fatality rates in the epidemic, required special treatment.

Around 90 percent of children under the age of one who have contracted Ebola have died, Harris said, pointing out that there was some indication that "simply being separated and isolated ... had a devastating psychological effect on children."

Caretakers fearful of contracting Ebola may also not provide them with the assistance they need to eat and drink, or weigh them to estimate the correct amounts of medication and intravenous liquids to administer.

"The standard methods are not ideal," she said.

Pregnant women too have a high fatality rate, although Harris said at least 21 were known to have survived.

But their foetuses rarely live, since "the amniotic fluid is an immunological sanctuary" where Ebola can remain and amplify even after the mother has fully recovered.

This means "the delivery is an enormous risk" for everyone involved, Harris said.

She said some of the Liberian experts had proposed using caesarians to help control the health care workers' exposure to the mother's highly infectious body fluids.

Otherwise, the experts found that the quality of care could dramatically improve an Ebola patient's chances of survival, pushing fatality rates down as low as 25 percent.

Fluid intake was especially important, Harris said, adding that ideally intravenous fluid replacement should be given early on.

Such therapy is much more effective when salts and electrolytes in the blood are monitored to spot any metabolic problems, she added, pointing out that "where people can correct those, people have a better chance of surviving."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...