Ebola Virus lives on in eye of US survivor

The medic, who caught the bug while working in Sierra Leone, had blurred eyesight and pain 2 months after being declared Ebola-free.

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Reports have emerged that the deadly Ebola virus has been detected in the eye of a United States doctor who had already recovered from the illness.

BBC reports that the medic, who caught the bug while working in Sierra Leone, had blurred eyesight and pain 2 months after being declared Ebola-free.

His eye infection however presents no risk to the public, scientists say, they however warn that research is needed to see if Ebola can also linger in other parts of the body.

It would be recalled that scientists had earlier revealed that traces of the deadly virus could also be found in the sperm of survivors, prompting the medical charity group Doctors Without Borders, to caution survivors to have protected sex for the the time being.

Now a team, including scientists from Emory University School of Medicine, say it could also persist in the eye and lead to further damage after their 43-year-old patient suffered blurry vision after recovering from a serious Ebola infection that needed weeks of intensive care.

Also, doctors say there was widespread inflammation in his eye which can lead to blindness.

However after 3 months of treatment with steroids and antiviral drugs, his vision began to improve. Experts think the virus's staying power might be due to the eye's ability to tolerate certain pathogens once inside its walls.

They suggest further studies are now warranted to check for the the presence of the virus in other "immune privileged" sites such as the central nervous system, testicles and cartilage.

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

Dr Russell Van Gelder, of the American Academy of Ophthalmology said  "if the Ebola epidemic continues, ophthalmologists throughout the world will be seeing patients with post-Ebola uveitis (inflammation), and will need to recognise and treat this condition."

"However, I want to emphasise that as far as we know, the Ebola virus is not transmitted by casual contact" he concluded.

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