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Ebola survivors have lasting neurological symptoms


A new study finds that a number of survivors of Ebola have brain symptoms that last long after other signs of Ebola have cleared away, Medical Xpress reports.

The study is to be presented Wednesday at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

"While an end to the outbreak has been declared, these survivors are still struggling with long-term problems," study author Dr. Lauren Bowen, from the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said in an American Academy of Neurology news release.

For the study, the research team checked the health of 82 Ebola survivors in Liberia, with an average age of 35 years.

The study revealed that six months after they were first infected with the virus, most of the Ebola had some type of neurological issue. The researchers said that the common problems experienced by the survivors included weakness, headache, memory loss, depressed mood, muscle pain, tremors and abnormal eye movement.

The study showed that about two-thirds of the participants had abnormalities in the way their eyes followed moving objects, one-third of the people had tremors, abnormal reflexes and other sensory abnormalites and 17 percent had irregular reflexes, according to Live Science.

However, the researchers said there is not enough known about these problems to say which of them might be due to Ebola.

"More than 28,600 people were infected with Ebola in West Africa during the outbreak. Of that number, 11,300 died. We wanted to find out more about possible continued long-term brain health problems for the more than 17,000 survivors of the infection," Bowen explained.

"It is important for us to know how this virus may continue to affect the brain long term," she said.

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