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    Ebola and the eye

    Managing ophthalmic manifestations of virus heightens screening, treatment protocols

     

    Group picture of eye partners at a mobile clinic in Tonkolili, Sierra Leone. (Image courtesy of Jessica G. Shantha, MD)In collaboration with lead clinician Dr. John Fankhauser and providers from Serving in Mission / Eternal Love Winning Africa Hospital and other organizations, Drs. Yeh, Shantha, Crozier, and Brent Hayek traveled to Monrovia, Liberia, to set up a mobile clinic and examine Ebola survivors.

    “We noted different ocular complications, including cranial nerve problems, optic neuropathy, and the most common finding, uveitis, in less than 25% of patients,” Dr. Shantha said. “We realized that uveitis is an issue and is something that providers in West Africa need to be aware of.

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    “In addition, since we found Ebola virus in the ocular fluid of Dr. Crozier, we wanted to be sure that ophthalmic providers were aware of these findings because this could potentially be a source of an outbreak and a source of exposure for patients and ophthalmic providers,” Dr. Shantha said.

    Contact between Emory physicians and providers and organizations abroad has continued, including a trip to Sierra Leone in the summer of 2015 to bring supplies, provide treatment protocols, screen and manage patients, and hold educational programs.

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    Other organizations including Partners in Health, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and in-country eye care providers are providing ongoing ophthalmic care for thousands of Ebola survivors in West Africa. Further trips to West Africa are being planned.

    In addition, groups such as the World Health Organization are developing guidelines for care and follow-up of Ebola survivors.

     

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