Tags: ebola | virus | eye | iris | color

Ebola Virus: Eye of Cured Doctor Retained Disease, Changed Color Twice

By    |   Friday, 08 May 2015 01:54 PM

The Ebola virus was found to be living in the eye of an American doctor months after he recovered and his blood was declared virus-free.

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According to The New York Times, a case study of Dr. Ian Crozier's self-described "post-Ebola syndrome" was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Crozier, 44, was released from Emory University Hospital in October. His fight with the virus, which he contracted while working at an Ebola clinic in Sierra Leone, was a long and debilitating one, and nearly ended his life. Among his many treatments, he spent 12 of his days on a ventilator, and 24 on dialysis.

Roughly nine weeks after he was released, Crozier returned to the hospital with fading sight and intense pain in his left eye. He reported joint and muscle pain, fatigue, and hearing loss. Crozier's eye had also changed color, from blue to green.

Tests soon revealed his left eye was rife with Ebola. The virus was not detected in his tears, however.

"It felt almost personal that the virus could be in my eye without me knowing it," he said.

Crozier's mentor, Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said it was amazing that "He's a full partner in his own investigation and the other investigations going forward."

"All of this is in the context of his sense of mission and being devoted to the medical care of people in underprivileged circumstances abroad," he added.

Researchers speculated that the virus, which seems to persist in semen for months after recovery, persists in the eye because of its unique physiology. Unlike many parts of the body, the eye resists inflammation that often helps fight and kill the virus. If it were to inflame easily, it might damage its own vision.

At one point in his treatment, which kept him in the hospital through Christmas, the pressure in his eye dropped dramatically, and became mushy to the touch.

"The eye felt dead to me," he said.

Eventually, Crozier's doctors got special permission from the FDA to use an experimental anti-viral pill. Along with taking the pill, Crozier received a steroid injection above his eyeball that would release the drug into his eye.

Slowly but surely, Crozier's sight returned, and his eye turned blue again.

Crozier and his team of doctors aren't sure if it was the drug that cured him, his own immune system, or both.

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The Ebola virus was found to be living in the eye of an American doctor months after he recovered and his blood was declared virus-free.
ebola, virus, eye, iris, color
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2015-54-08
Friday, 08 May 2015 01:54 PM
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