Understanding the long-term evolution and predictors of sequelae of Ebola virus disease survivors in Guinea: A 48-month prospective, longitudinal cohort study (PostEboGui)

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Feb 23;ciab168. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab168. Online ahead of print.


Background: Longitudinal analyses are needed to better understand long-term Ebola virus disease (EVD) sequelae. We aimed to estimate the prevalence, incidence and duration of sequelae and identify risk factors associated with symptom occurrence among EVD survivors in Guinea.

Methods: We followed 802 EVD survivors over 48 months and recorded clinical symptoms with their start/end dates. Prevalence, incidence and duration of sequelae were calculated. Risk factors associated with symptom occurrence were assessed using an extended Cox model for recurrent events.

Results: Overall, the prevalence and incidence of all symptoms decreased significantly over time, but sequelae remained present 48 months after Ebola treatment center discharge with a prevalence of 30.68% (95% confidence interval [CI] 21.40-39.96) for abdominal, 30.55% (95% CI 20.68-40.41) for neurologic, 5.80% (95% CI 1.96-9.65) for musculoskeletal and 4.24% (95% CI 2.26-6.23) for ocular sequelae. Half of all patients (50.70%; 95% CI 47.26-54.14) complained of general symptoms 2 years' post-discharge and 25.35% (95% CI 23.63-27.07) 4 years' post-discharge. Hemorrhage (hazard ratio [HR], 2.70; P = .007), neurologic (HR 2.63; P = .021) and general symptoms (HR 0.34; P = .003) in the EVD acute phase were significantly associated with the further occurrence of ocular sequelae, whereas hemorrhage (HR 1.91; P =.046) and abdominal (HR 2.21; P = .033) symptoms were significantly associated with musculoskeletal sequelae.

Conclusion: Our findings provide new insight into the long-term clinical complications of EVD and their significant association with symptoms in the acute phase, thus reinforcing the importance of regular, long-term follow-up for EVD survivors.

Keywords: Cox models; Ebola survivors; prevalence; recurrent events; sequelae.