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July 2015

Eyes on Ebola Virus Disease

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015;133(7):743-744. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.0703

The current Ebola epidemic has been deemed the largest in history, with the World Health Organization declaring it a “public health emergency of international concern.”1 Ebola virus disease has a high fatality rate, and the Ebola virus belongs to the family Filoviridae, a family of viruses that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates.2 Bats are suspected to be the reservoir hosts.2

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1 Comment for this article
Eyes on Ebola: Permanent eye tissue donor deferral
David B. Glasser, M.D. | Johns Hopkins University Department of Ophthalmology
I read Dr. Shieh and co-authors recent viewpoint on Ebola virus and the eye with interest. They provide a concise and useful review.
Since the time of preparation of Shieh's manuscript, Varkey and co-authors have published a report of Ebola virus persisting in the aqueous humor of an infected individual up to 14 weeks after the onset of the disease and up to 9 weeks after clearance of the viremia. (Varkey JB, Shantha JG, Crozier I, et al. Persistence of Ebola virus in ocular fluid during convalescence. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jun 18;372(25):2423-7). It is unclear how long
infectious virus might persist in ocular tissues after recovery from the disease.

In response to this report, the Eye Bank Association of America's (EBAA) Medical Advisory Board changed the EBAA Medical Standards to permanently exclude from donation all individuals with a history of Ebola virus disease.