The Ebola virus can ‘live on in eyes of survivors’

The Ebola virus has been detected in the eye of a US doctor who had already recovered from the illness. The medic, who caught the bug while working in Sierra Leone, had blurred eyesight and pain two months after being declared Ebola-free. Scientists say his eye infection presents no risk to the public.
But reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine they warn that research is needed to see if Ebola can also linger in other parts of the body. Patients with Ebola are generally discharged once tests show the virus is no longer present in blood. At this point, experts say, it cannot be spread to members of the general public.
But there have been suggestions the virus may live on in some bodily fluids as certain parts of the body could act as reservoirs. Now a team, including scientists from Emory University School of Medicine, say Ebola can persist in the eye and lead to further damage.
Their 43-year-old patient recovered from a serious Ebola infection that needed weeks of intensive care. But shortly after being discharged, he had a burning sensation in his eyes and suffered worsening blurry vision. Tests showed the fluid in his left eye had live Ebola virus.
And doctors say there was widespread inflammation which can lead to blindness. But after three 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.