Saturday 10 December 2016

Ebola survivors can develop disease again - WHO

Maria Cheng

Published 16/10/2015 | 02:30

Pauline Cafferkey was admitted last Friday for an 'unusual late complication' of Ebola after having recovered from the disease in January
Pauline Cafferkey was admitted last Friday for an 'unusual late complication' of Ebola after having recovered from the disease in January

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it's possible in rare instances for patients who survived Ebola to develop the lethal disease again, when the virus lingering in the body starts to replicate at high levels.

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That might explain what has happened to a Scottish nurse now being treated in London's Royal Free Hospital. Pauline Cafferkey was admitted last Friday for an "unusual late complication" of Ebola after having recovered from the disease in January, the hospital said. On Wednesday, it said Ms Cafferkey was critically ill after her condition deteriorated and that she was now suffering from Ebola, not just a complication.

WHO spokeswoman Dr Margaret Harris said yesterday that it has heard of several similar cases, although they are not well documented.

"What we have seen is that in some people, the virus lies dormant at a site and then for some unknown reason, starts to reproduce again," she said.

"We think it's a minority of people, otherwise we would have seen cases all over the place."

Dr Harris said it's unclear whether those people might then be infectious to others.

UK tabloids made much of the fact that Ms Cafferkey was photographed standing near British PM David Cameron's wife recently after accepting an award in London.

Irish Independent

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