Have you heard about Doctor Ian Crozier, the man re-diagnosed with Ebola? That’s right, re-diagnosed. Except, instead of ravaging his entire body, this time the virus decided that it wanted to eat his eye. I say ‘eat’ because the Ebola virus disintegrates the connective tissues in the body while reproducing in collagen; the only thing that the virus doesn’t eat is bone and skeletal muscles. It also causes the blood to thicken, creating large blood clots which then stop the flow of blood. Ouch.
Since the outbreak of Ebola in 2013 there have been more than 26,000 cases documented. While this virus is generally fatal, this epidemic has also resulted in the largest number of survivors, which is encouraging for the rest of us. Apparently Ebola emerging in the eye of survivors isn’t exactly a new thing, and going blind is a common side-effect.
So what about this doctor? Despite being one of the sickest patients in Emery University Hospital when admitted, he was eventually declared ‘Ebola free’ and sent home. He started developing issues with his eye about two months later. This started out with a sensitivity to light and occasional pain in his eye. First told that it was just a side-effect of the Ebola, he went home with some basic medical treatment. Crozier was clued in that it might be worse, however, when he woke up one morning to find that his normally blue left eye had turned a vivid green. Instantly alarmed, he immediately went back to the office to be checked out. After some testing (which involved a cringe-worthy procedure of a needle being stuck in his eye), they found that the Ebola virus was still lurking in his eye. This stunned the doctors and quickly added frequent eye-checks in other Ebola survivors. Obviously concerned about the virus and whether or not he might have inadvertently infected his family, the doctor’s tears were checked for the virus and found to be (thankfully) free of the virus. This means that even though the virus may leave a microscopic footprint in a victim’s eyes, once it is obliterated from the human body the first time, it cannot infect others even if it takes over an eye or two.
How is the doctor now? Much better, according to how he looks in his interview with CNN. Both eyes are blue and despite the fact that he does still have some blockage in his eye, he is able to see. He has not, however, attempted to check and see if the virus is completely gone as that would require another needle in his eye. With his eye pressure still less than normal, it would be risky to even try, so both he and his doctors are content to wait until later to do the check.
What do you think? Did you know about the secondary symptoms of Ebola? Should patients be kept in the hospitals until they are cleared of that risk factor as well?