Treatment and Prevention

Plasmapheresis with plasma from recovered patients has been tried as treatment. Interpretation of limited trials (at the tail end of the epidemics) indicates little hope of an effective therapy. No drugs have been effective. A hospital staff member attending an Ebola patient (from Africa) in a hospital in England became ill and soon was gravely ill. Interferon and immune plasma were both given and the patient recovered. A possible vaccine remains a dream.

Interestingly, 11 of 11 blood donors for plasmapheresis had microfilariae, although no protozoa, in their blood. It should be emphasized that most of the Ebola patients who came to a clinic or a hospital had had several days of treatment with an antimalarial drug, often followed by typhoid treatment or antibiotics of whatever kind available. Malarial parasites could hardly be expected to be found under such circumstances.

Wilbur G. Downs

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