Long-term sequelae after Ebola virus disease in Bundibugyo, Uganda: A retrospective cohort study

Danielle V. Clark, Hannah Kibuuka, Monica Millard, Salim Wakabi, Luswa Lukwago, Alison Taylor, Michael A. Eller, Leigh Anne Eller, Nelson L. Michael, Anna N. Honko, Gene G. Olinger, Randal J. Schoepp, Matthew J. Hepburn, Lisa E. Hensley, Merlin L. Robb

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173 Scopus citations


Background: The limited data available for long-term Ebola virus disease health outcomes suggest that sequelae persist for longer than 1 year after infection. The magnitude of the present outbreak in west Africa necessitates a more complete understanding of the health effects and future medical needs of these patients. Methods: We invited adult survivors of the 2007 Bundibugyo Ebola virus outbreak in Uganda and their contacts to take part in an observational study roughly 29 months after the outbreak. We collected information about health status, functional limitations, and demographics. We collected blood samples for clinical chemistry, haematology, and filovirus antibodies using ELISA. Analyses were restricted to probable and confirmed survivors and their seronegative contacts. Findings: We recruited 70 survivors of the 2007 Bundibugyo Ebola virus and 223 contacts. We did analyses for 49 probable and confirmed survivors and 157 seronegative contacts. Survivors of the Bundibugyo Ebola virus were at significantly increased risk of ocular deficits (retro-orbital pain [RR 4·3, 95% CI 1·9-9·6; p<0·0001], blurred vision [1·9, 1·1-3·2; p=0·018]), hearing loss (2·3, 1·2-4·5; p=0·010), difficulty swallowing (2·1, 1·1-3·9; p=0·017), difficulty sleeping (1·9, 1·3-2·8; p=0·001), arthralgias (2·0, 1·1-3·6; p=0·020), and various constitutional symptoms controlling for age and sex. Chronic health problems (prevalence ratio [PR] 2·1, 95% CI 1·2-3·6; p=0·008) and limitations due to memory loss or confusion (PR 5·8, 1·5-22·4; p=0·010) were also reported more frequently by survivors of Bundibugyo Ebola virus. Interpretation: Long-term sequelae persist for more than 2 years after Ebola virus disease. Definition of health consequences related to Ebola virus disease could improve patient care for survivors and contribute to understanding of disease pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-912
Number of pages8
JournalThe Lancet Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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