This is Where Ebola and COVID-19 Crossover

This is Where Ebola and COVID-19 Crossover

Both illnesses have similar long haul symptoms.

Ebola ravaged Africa from 2014 to 2016, claiming the lives of over 11,000 people. This ultra-deadly disease kills about half of all those it infects. Prior to the Ebola epidemic, the disease caused fear in communities throughout the African continent sporadically. This began in 1976 when the disease first raised its head from the back alleys of nature, possibly coming to humans from fruit bats.

Ebola is a virus that leads to deadly internal bleeding, affecting how your blood clots. The thing of nightmares, it’s a hemorrhagic fever that results in blood leaking from your small blood vessels. You can only catch Ebola by having direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. So, clearly Ebola and the novel coronavirus are two very different cups of tea. It may come as a surprise that the two illnesses do crossover in surprising ways down the road, however.

Long Term Effects

According to some researchers, the long term effects some survivors experience with Ebola and the coronavirus are turning out to be quite similar.  About three-quarters of Ebola survivors say they experience side effects a year after falling sick. These include many things. Strong headaches, cognitive troubles, muscle and joint pain, feeling tired, and problems with vision all come into play. When it comes to the coronavirus, about 10% of patients are said to experience long term symptoms, and they are similar to those listed with Ebola. And they can cause significant problems. In some people these lingering effects are so bad they make it difficult to work. Sometimes even getting up in the morning is hard. Scientists say continuing inflammation and an ongoing immune activation is to blame. But why all this is triggered in some survivors, and not others, is unknown.

              Related: You’ve Been Vaccinated. Should You Go to a Restaurant?

What do the experts have to say?

“(With Ebola) it’s the same kind of discussions as we’re having for Covid; it’s people whose lives have never been the same again, who describe joint pain and fatigue and cognitive problems and all those familiar lists,” said Danny Altmann. Altmannis a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, and he spoke with The Guardian.

“…we’re talking about very different virus families, and very diverse infections,” he added. “They seem to do quite similar things. There’s a desperate need for some immunology to understand what’s going on.”

Help for Long Haulers

Is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe. In Canada, people suffering from long term coronavirus symptoms are signing petitions calling on the federal government to do something. COVID long haulers who can’t kick the effects of the disease want long COVID to be recognized as a real condition. People need more financial aid if they can’t work.

In the US, some are hoping increased testing will help shed some more light on the issue. A test that searches your T cells for previous exposure to the coronavirus- not just your antibodies- was approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March, 2021. While it isn’t a treatment, it can help wade through the questions. Some people are suffering from what seem to be long term COVID symptoms, but don’t know if they ever caught the virus. They didn’t have symptoms, and antibody tests aren’t providing clear results. It is hoped the new T cell tests will provide more answers as your T cell virus memory lasts for a longer period of time than antibodies. .

Feeling frustrated? Talk with your doctor about your symptoms and search for online tools  that could help in your recovery. It’s a new ball game.  Much research needs to be done to understand exactly what is at play.

photo credits: GoodIdeas/

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