Despite the use of phrases like “fully recovered” and “cured,” the majority of those who survive an Ebola infection are left with a gruesome list of symptoms. Hair loss, joint pain, vision problems, and fatigue are some of the most common, as is sleeplessness, rash, and arthritis.
Neurological symptoms like forgetfulness and memory loss appear to be the most alarming—and, unfortunately, the most common. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) is currently spearheading a study of the long-term effects in survivors with the help of officials in Liberia. He, like many, was surprised to learn of Cafferkey’s case.
“This is certainly an unusual event, if you look at the history of survivors in the three countries,” he tells The Daily Beast. “But is this an isolated event that will never happen again? No, I can’t say that.” Among the 17,000 survivors of the Ebola epidemic, which infected at least 28,000 people and killed 11,000, it’s a reaction he’s yet to see.