Ebola found in eye of American after he was declared Ebola-free: 7 things to know

Even though an American who survived Ebola was declared Ebola-free after being treated at Atlanta-based Emory University Hospital, the virus was discovered lingering in his eye, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Here are seven things to know about the case.

1. Ian Crozier, MD, contracted Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone and was flown back to the U.S. for treatment in Atlanta. After successful treatment, Dr. Crozier's blood was Ebola-free and he was released.

2. After he was discharged, Dr. Crozier had muscle and joint pain and hearing loss associated with Ebola. Additionally, he developed eye troubles, including a foreign-body sensation and bilateral ocular burning, blurred vision and pain. His eye color also changed from blue to green, according to the Washington Post. He was diagnosed with uveitis, which can lead to blindness.

3. Dr. Crozier is not alone in developing this issue post-Ebola: Others who survived Ebola in West Africa have been diagnosed with uveitis, according to the New York Times.

4. When his eye trouble started, Dr. Crozier went to see an ophthalmologist, who tested fluid from the inside of the patient's eye. The fluid tested positive for Ebola.

5. The eye is not the only place in the body where Ebola has been found even after blood tests are negative for the virus, as the virus can stay longer in semen than it can in the blood. In fact, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailed how a Liberian man who survived Ebola may have passed the virus on to a woman through unprotected sex five months after he had recovered.

6. The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that while Ebola was present in the eye, it was not present in the patient's tears or the surface of the eye or eyelids, meaning Dr. Crozier could not have passed Ebola on from the infected eye. "This remarkable case now demonstrates that the [Ebola] virus can remain viable in ocular fluids long after the patient has recovered from the systemic infection," said Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD, president of the AAO. "The current study does not suggest that infection can be transmitted through contact with tears or the ocular surface of patients who have recovered from their initial infection."

7. Dr. Crozier's physicians were able to successfully treat the eye infection with steroids and an antiviral medication. His eye returned to its normal color and he regained vision. The information from his treatment could help prevent blindness in Ebola survivors in West Africa, according to the New York Times.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars