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Originally published May 15 2015

Ebola lives on in eyeball of 'recovered' Ebola victim

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Months after a man was treated for Ebola infection, remnants of the deadly disease have remained in one of his eyes, as noted by a change in eye color.

Dr. Ian Crozier was diagnosed with the highly contagious disease in September 2014 as he worked to provide care to afflicted victims in Sierra Leone on behalf of the World Health Organization. After he contracted Ebola, he was sent back to the United States and treated for the disease at Emory University Hospital's special Ebola unit in Atlanta, Georgia.

As Crozier and other physicians and researchers noted in the New England Journal of Medicine, the American doctor left the hospital in October after the virus was no longer detected in his blood.

However, Britain's Daily Mail reports that two months later, Crozier experienced inflammation and dramatically increased pressure in his left eye, which caused serious vision problems accompanied by a lot of swelling.

Doctor was in critical condition upon admission

The paper also noted in its online edition:

He returned to the same hospital where he had originally been treated, and an ophthalmologist, Dr. Steven Yeh, removed some of the fluid and tested it for Ebola. It did in fact contain the virus, but it was not present in his tears or the tissue around his eye.

After the fluid tested positive, Yeh and other doctors concluded that Crozier, 43, was not at risk of infecting others. Nevertheless, Yeh -- a co-author of the New England Journal of Medicine report -- believes the case demonstrates that survivors of the virus should be monitored for potential eye infections and other potential residual conditions.

The Journal described Crozier's critical state when he arrived at Emory Hospital:

The hospital course was complicated by multiorgan system failure requiring mechanical ventilation for 12 days and hemodialysis for 24 days. After extubation, the patient had altered mental status, difficulty walking related to severe proximal weakness and deconditioning, and extreme fatigue. On day 44 of the illness, hemodialysis was no longer required and his mental status had markedly improved, with some residual mild word-finding difficulty.

The authors said that Crozier was treated with "an experimental small interfering RNA antiviral agent (TKM-100802, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals), convalescent plasma, and aggressive supportive care."

The Daily Mail noted that Ebola experts were already aware that the deadly virus could remain active in semen for several months after a patient is ultimately cleared via blood tests. The inflammation and eye infection did not necessarily catch researchers and experts off guard, although little is known about the condition or how long it can last.

His iris changed color within the first ten days of the infection.

More studies needed to see how long and where the virus can remain active

The Daily Mail said that after being treated with a number of different medications, Crozier's vision finally began to return, although he has yet to fully recover. His eye color has now returned to its normal shade of blue.

"Experts say cases of eye inflammation and problems with vision have been reported among survivors of Ebola in previous outbreaks, as well as among people with a virus known as Marburg, which is similar to Ebola," the Mail reported, adding that the condition is nevertheless rare.

The BBC added that most experts believe the virus's ability to hang around in the eye could be due in part to the organ's ability to tolerate some pathogens once they are inside its walls. They noted that further studies are needed to test for the presence of the virus in other "immune privileged" organs such as the body's central nervous system, cartilage and testicles.

Meanwhile, doctors are calling for more help for survivors in the worst-affected countries, the BBC reported, adding that recovering patients "are reporting eye problems among other difficulties."


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