In a recent study that tracked around 1000 of Ebola survivors stated that they had a higher than usual risk of dying in the year following their recovery. Some of the health officials believed the study suggest that more efforts should be taken to monitor the health of survivors amidst the constant outbreak occurring in Congo. Researchers at the World Health Organization and around the world gathered information about 1,130 survivors those were hospitalized with Ebola during 2014-16 epidemic. Ebola victims were from Guinea, West Africa. Out of those survivors, around 59 died, that is approximately 5%. Nearly two-thirds of them reportedly had severe kidney problems that might have contributed to their deaths. The study reported that compared to general masses, the survivors of Ebola have higher chances of dying within the first year of their release from the hospital.
The availability of medical records was limited hence, the researchers relied on the memories of family members for how and when their relatives died. But then again scientists say the results could be relevant as the Ebola virus continues to spread in Congo. Lorenzo Subissi, senior author of the paper suggested that although with some infectious diseases, survivors have higher than usual chance of mortality after recovery. But this was not considered in case Ebola. The study was published in a paper called Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Subissi further added that it was uncertain that the survivor’s deaths in Guinea were because of an Ebola relapse or it was an evidence of lasting damage caused due to their illness. He speculated that because Ebola can activate a massive inflammation response, the possibility is that it could damage organs including the liver and kidney. Further, Ebola is well-known as it persists in some parts of the body for even months, long after person is recovered. There were even few cases when Ebola re-emerged, to cause problems. Subissi is evaluating the results to conclude whether approaches to monitor Ebola survivors should be reformed.