TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

NIH organizations issue report on Ebola patient's care

Nearly all of the neurological abnormalities were resolved on MRI scans taken seven months after his admission. | File photo
A new report from various organizations under the National Institutes of Health details the clinical course of a 34-year-old American with Ebola virus disease who received intensive supportive care through a clinical trial at the NIH Special Clinical Studies Unit.

The patient contracted the virus while in Sierra Leone as a health care worker, and he arrived at the unit on the seventh day of his illness. Through the clinical trial, he was randomly assigned to receive optimized supportive care only, while other trial subjects underwent experimental therapies.

Despite care that included meticulous maintenance of fluid and electrolyte balances, the patient's condition worsened dramatically in the first few days of treatment, including organ failure. He experienced reduced kidney and liver function and neuromuscular weakness that saw him on mechanical ventilation for 10 days.

The patient also had meningoencephalitis, wherein the brain and meningeal tissue becomes inflamed, which led to visible lesions when doctors performed MRI scans. These MRI findings and the detailed physical examinations in the report are the first available for a patient receiving supportive care only.

The patient survived and nearly all of the neurological abnormalities were resolved on MRI scans taken seven months after his admission. The report shows that near-complete recovery from the Ebola virus is possible for patients receiving only intensive-level supportive care.

Organizations in this story

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806 Bethesda, MD 20892-9806

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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