Ebola In His Eye Changed it’s Color
The Ebola outbreak of 2014 was so severe and unexpected that it shook the notions of safety across the globe.
Now in May 2015 it seems to be largely under control. In fact on May 9, 2015 there will have been no new cases in Liberia in 42 days. That means according to the WHO’s estimation Liberia will finally be free of Ebola.
“People didn’t believe Ebola was a real disease; they refused to bring loved ones in for care; they refused to stop burial practices that were incredibly dangerous. The mentality changed back in the fall after things got incredibly bad.” npr.org
The doctor with Ebola
Dr. Cozier contracted the disease working in an Ebola treatment ward in Sierra Leone as a volunteer for the WHO. After battling the disease for months at Emory University Hospital, Dr. Cozier was released – Ebola free.
Two months later he returned… and changed our understanding of the Ebola virus forever.
Dr. Cozier was suffering with fading sight, intense pain and pressure in his left eye, as well as debilitating muscle pain, fatigue, even hearing loss.
Notably, ten days after symptoms began, Dr. Cozier’s eye actually changed color.
Now recognized as what Dr. Cozier calls “post-Ebola syndrome”. It turns out the Ebola virus lingered in the eye creating dangerous levels of inflammation. With Ebola having thought to have been eradicated this is not a well studied subject, but the WHO has been seeing similar symptoms in upwards of 40 percent of Ebola sufferers.
Understandably the WHO was preoccupied with stopping the onslaught of Ebola and only now has time to actually gather information and study those who managed to survive.
The progression of Ebola in the eye
In a story that sounds like an episode of “House” Dr. Cozier came in with pressure, and deteriorating sight, that stymied doctors when it was revealed to be Ebola.
An unprecedented case, meant treatment was a mystery. Doctors afraid that using steroids to bring down infection may bolster the disease and it became a balancing act while Dr. Cozier worsened. His iris changed color as his eyeball became soft and he lost vision.
Eventually receiving special permission from teh FDA to use an experimental drug in pill form… combined with steroid injections above the eye, finally reversed the decline. Within a week or so he began to see slight ‘portals’ of vision and over time was able to read eye charts. His eye even returned to it’s original color.
The expectation is this case will become valuable in treating other recovered Ebola patients.