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Post-Ebola syndrome investigated

Wednesday April 13th, 2016

Post-Ebola syndrome is the focus of a new study by international experts, presented at a major European conference this week.

The syndrome includes vision complications, joint and muscle pain and psychiatric and neurological problems such as confusion, depression and psychosis. It is affecting many survivors of last year's Ebola outbreaks in West Africa.

Dr Janet Scott and her team at Liverpool University, UK, are working with experts at the King's Sierra Leone Partnership, based at King's College London, UK, to investigate the syndrome.

They assessed the records of more than 300 survivors treated at the Ebola Treatment Unit at the 34th Regiment Military Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone. "There are over 17,000 survivors from the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa, including around 5,000 in Sierra Leone," explains Dr Scott.

"This provides us with a new opportunity to better understand these debilitating post-viral symptoms and improve ongoing care for patients."

Patients with possible post-Ebola syndrome were invited to a clinic where they underwent a full neurological examination, psychiatric screening and specialist investigations including brain scan imaging.

This showed a broad set of neurological and psychiatric symptoms, say the team, from minor to extremely severe.

"In our selected group intermittent headaches were the most frequent neurological feature, with a variety of associated symptoms," they report. Psychiatric features of insomnia, depression and anxiety are common, they add, so they call for "primary level neurological and psychiatric referral" when necessary.

Findings were presented at the 26th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, held from 9-12 April 2016.

Tags: Africa | Brain & Neurology | Europe | Flu & Viruses | UK News

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