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Ebola surges back even after 'recovery' ... mystery deaths in Africa believed to be Ebola's third wave


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(NaturalNews) Over the past year and half, a surging outbreak of Ebola virus has put entire countries in West Africa under duress, putting villagers' immune systems to the test of their life. Approximately 11,300 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea have passed away, and at least 17,000 others have survived. After enduring two waves of vicious Ebola outbreak, these countries are now only seeing a few cases crop up in Guinea. However, researchers are discovering what might be the beginnings of a third Ebola wave.

Reports on the ground indicate that survivors are having a hard time settling back into their communities. Facing fear and paranoia from other residents, survivors are doing everything they can to prove they are healthy and not carrying around remnants of the Ebola virus.

Their full recovery is not convincing enough because a percentage of survivors are now starting to relapse. Researchers at Sierra Leone's National Ebola Response Center are scrambling to understand a new wave of rogue Ebola cases, which are being called "anomalies."

Ebola survivors beginning to relapse, as mystery deaths start to surface

These "anomaly" cases are estimated to affect 10 percent of survivors. Dr. Dan Kelly, founder of the non-profit Wellbody Alliance, has worked with such cases where the patient's immune system underwent a second attack, even after being released and declared 100 percent healthy.

These unexpected relapses are causing "mystery deaths" to crop up in West Africa, leaving medical researchers baffled. Even after a patient is symptom-free and their body has overcome the viral attack, remnants of the virus could still be hiding inside inaccessible spots in the body such as the eyeball, the brain, or the spinal fluid. It's hard to detect whether the virus is still lurking in a patient's body, even after they have recovered.

Dr. Dan Kelly said that two of the 20 cases treated in the US and Europe were like this. One patient, Pauline Cafferkey, harbored Ebola virus in her brain even after recovering. Dr. Kelly said that many of these type of cases are not being detected in West Africa.

"One case reminds me of Pauline but we were unable to find a laboratory willing to test the patient before the patient died," he said. "In West Africa it (relapsing Ebola) is mostly undiagnosed, hardly treated and people are certainly dying of it."

For example, two initial Ebola survivors returned to Freetown's 34 Military Hospital just weeks later with respiratory problems. Neither one survived.

Fears rising that survivors are spreading the disease again sexually

Right now, a mass effort is underway in Sierra Leone and Liberia to introduce survivor screening programs to confirm they are not still harboring the virus. Sierra Leone's "Operation Shield" tests survivor's semen, which can harbor the virus for up to nine months.

Adam Kucharski, infectious disease expert at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, says, "The Ebola response has already had to adapt to the extraordinary nature of this outbreak. The possibility of transmission long after apparent recovery poses yet another challenge."

Fears that survivors are still spreading the virus via sexual transmission are increasing, especially when new cases crop up. When survivors return to their communities, many are shunned. Witnesses report that survivors may be treated "like a pariah, leper and an outcast" when they return home. Some survivors receive counseling from Christian organizations to help them deal with the stigmatization.

As the fear persists, medical researchers in the area are beginning to wonder whether or not the 17,000 survivors are going to relapse, unleashing a third wave of Ebola across West Africa.

Sources for this article include:

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