Emergency Medicine: Open Access

Emergency Medicine: Open Access
Open Access

ISSN: 2165-7548

+44 1223 790975


Post-Traumatic Stress Reactions in Ebola Virus Disease Survivors in Sierra Leone

Malcolm Hugo, Hilde Declerck, Gabriel Fitzpatrick, Nathalie Severy, Osman Bamba-Moi Gbabai, Tom Decroo and Michel Van Herp

Introduction: The current Ebola outbreak represents the largest in history. Understanding psychologicalreactions among EVD survivors may provide relevant information about post-treatment adjustment and possible psychological preventative measures. We therefore studied the psychological reactions in Ebola Virus Disease survivors following their discharge from an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone.
Methods: Immediately following discharge, survivors met with the psychologist to discuss their experiences in the case management centre and the challenges they may face returning to their communities. Of 74 survivors discharged in the study period, 24 were followed up at home for a psychological consultation three to four weeks after discharge. During the home visit the psychologist applied an adaptation of the trauma screening questionnaire and explored number of family deaths from Ebola Virus Disease, stigma, the meaning they attached to the causation of their illness and general post illness adjustment.
Results: All survivors had lost immediate family members to Ebola Virus Disease. Most (16; 67%) had also witnessed their deaths. Eight (32%) survivors had experienced stigma when returning to their communities. Seventeen (71%) survivors experienced arousal and re-experiencing reactions during the first two days post discharge. Five (21%) reported clinically important post traumatic reactions between three and four weeks post discharge predicting a risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Conclusion: Although this study represents a snapshot of post-traumatic stress reactions observed in Ebola survivors, it does demonstrate the need to consider the likelihood of psychological sequelae in EVD survivors. Long term follow-up of is needed to understand psychological care needs of Ebola survivors.