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Doctors have calculated the mortality rate of patients with Ebola in Guinea. It turned out that in the first month after being discharged from the hospital, former patients still died 5 times more often than the average Guineans – presumably due to kidney failure. Study published in the journal Lancet.

The Ebola epidemic has peaked in 2014-2016, but still continues to travel across Africa, despite a vaccination program. Many patients can be saved, but even after cure, they are faced with a wide variety of consequences of the infection – from baldness to mental disorders.

Mory Keita and an international team of doctors, as part of the Ebola Surveillance Program, calculated the mortality of patients after being discharged from the hospital. The study took place in Guinea from December 6, 2015 to September 30, 2016. At the beginning of the observation, 1270 people were discharged from hospitals. For the fate of 1130 of them, doctors were able to track. They noticed that during the first month after discharge – until December 31, 2015 – mortality among this group of people was 5 times higher than the Guinean average. And from January 1, the indicators leveled off, and then the Ebola survivors died no more often than the rest of the country. Moreover, among ex-patients, those who spent more time in the hospital were more likely to die.

Since not all people were observed by doctors after discharge, the authors of the study were unable to establish the causes of all deaths. They made their conclusions on the basis of a survey of relatives and close patients. However, of the 59 people who died during the observation, 37 complained to their relatives about anuria – lack of urination. Therefore, researchers suggest that the cause of their death was kidney failure.

At the moment, it is unclear what exactly could disrupt the kidneys: the Ebola virus itself or the drugs with which it was fought. Nevertheless, the authors of the work believe that more attention should be paid and, possibly, more funding should be allocated to support Ebola survivors in order to prevent new postponed victims.

It is also known that the Ebola virus can survive treatment and persist in the patient’s body even without symptoms, so former patients can rarely remain contagious even after discharge.

Polina Loseva


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