Ebola Virus Found in American Doctor’s Eye

Doctors have detected Ebola virus in the eye of Dr. Ian Crozier, an Ebola survivor.

Two months after Dr. Crozier recovered from Ebola, he developed an inflammation and very high blood pressure in the eye. The inflammation caused his eye to swell and develop vision problems.

After noticing the symptoms, Dr. Crozier went back to Emory University Hospital, where he was initially treated for Ebola virus, to have his left eye checked. The fluid was removed from his eye and was tested for Ebola.

Dr. Steven Yeh, the ophthalmologist who extracted the fluid and conducted the test, found Ebola virus in the fluid he drained from his eye. He noted that the virus was not detected in his tears or in the tissue surrounding his eye.

Ten days after the symptoms were initially observed, Dr. Crozier’s infected eye’s iris changed color. It turned from normal bright blue to green.

eyes with Ebola virus
PHOTO CREDIT: The New York Times

The Ebola survivor’s vision has partially recovered after  undergoing treatment and taking medicines. His eye colour has returned to normal since then.

Initially diagnosed with Ebola virus in September 2014, the American doctor who worked with World Health Organization in Sierra Leone was flown to the US to get treatment at the special Ebola unit of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

In October, Dr. Crozier was allowed to leave the hospital after being declared free of Ebola.

No Public Health Risk

Since Dr. Crozier’s tears and tissues did not contain the deadly virus, doctors believe that he does not present a public health risk. However, the recent discovery shows people who have fully recovered from Ebola should still be monitored.

Other Survivors Experience Eye Problems

Aside from Dr. Crozier’s, other patients who survived Ebola also experienced eye problems such as blurred vision, eye pain, inflammation, and blind spots in visual fields. However, the number of Ebola survivors who displayed the same symptoms is unknown.

“We’re seeing symptoms in patients who’ve been out of the treatment unit for up to nine month. They’re still very severe and impacting their life every day,” Dr. Fankhauser told New York Times.

The case of Dr. Crozier was discussed by doctors during a conference of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology at Denver on Thursday.

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