LONDON — A study that tracked over 1,000 Ebola survivors found they had a higher than usual chance of dying in the year after their recovery. Some health officials said the results suggest more should be done to monitor the health of survivors amid the ongoing outbreak in Congo.
Researchers at the World Health Organization and elsewhere collected information about 1,130 people who were hospitalized with Ebola in Guinea during the 2014-16 West Africa epidemic. Of those survivors, 59 died, or about 5%. Nearly two-thirds reportedly had kidney problems that may have contributed to their deaths.
Compared with the general public, the survivors had a five times higher risk of dying in the first year after their release, the study reported.
With limited access to medical records, the researchers mostly relied on the memories of family members for when and how their relative died. But scientists say the findings could be relevant as the Ebola virus continues to spread in Congo and could prompt changes in how survivors are tracked.
“We know that with some infectious diseases, people are at higher risk of mortality after recovery. But we did not think this was the case with Ebola,” said Lorenzo Subissi, the paper’s senior author who did the work at the Belgian research institute Sciensano.
The study was published online Wednesday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Subissi said it was unclear if the survivor deaths in Guinea were because of a possible Ebola relapse or evidence of more lasting damage from their illness.
Print Headline: Ebola study says survivors at risk