They do not have to wear cumbersome personal protective equipment and have been particularly important in the treatment of children and babies.
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Ebola virus survivor thought to be reinfected with the Ebola virus was in fact, suffering from a “resurgence” of Ebola virus. The Ebola survivor got Ebola symptoms again, and this time he died from Ebola.
Ebola virus was still lurking in his immune system and he got Ebola symptoms again a second time after his first recovery from Ebola.
There was Ebola alarm last week among experts when the first reports came through that a Ebola patient had died after catching the Ebola virus a second time – a case of reinfection with Ebola has never been documented and survivors are thought to be immune.
A post mortem confirmed that the man died because of a resurgence of the disease rather than a reinfection.
This is good news for the disease response as Ebola survivors have been employed as so-called “lullaby singers” in treatment centers.
The Ebola virus can hide in so-called immune sanctuaries in the body – particularly in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, testes and bone marrow.
Pauline Cafferkey, the UK nurse who contracted Ebola while responding to the 2014 to 2016 West African outbreak, had to be readmitted to hospital after suffering a resurgence of the disease nine months after being given the all clear.
Margaret Ann Harris, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization in DRC, said that there had been cases of Ebola survivors falling ill again.
“We have seen some cases of resurgence in Guinea and we have also seen that death rates among Ebola survivors are higher. We know that Ebola virus persists in some people and it can come out again,” she said.
A study earlier this year showed that Ebola survivors were five times more likely to die in the year following their recovery than the general population.
The confirmation of resurgence is a welcome piece of good news after authorities reported a spike in Ebola cases in recent days.
WHO and the DRC authorities had hoped that the outbreak – which has infected more than 3,000 people since August 2018 – was coming to a close at the beginning of last month.
But an upsurge in the violence that has been a hallmark of this outbreak at the end of November – and which saw three responders killed – meant that response teams were on lockdown.