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Levels of Ebola Virus in Blood Could Help Predict Mortality

Scientists hope findings will point toward more effective treatments

ebola virus

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The levels of Ebola virus in a patient's blood can strongly predict the mortality risk, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in PLOS Medicine.

A team led by Amadou Alpha Sall, Ph.D., of the Pasteur Institute of Dakar, Senegal, and Simon Cauchemez, Ph.D., of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, evaluated data on 699 people in the West African nation of Guinea who were hospitalized with Ebola between March 2014 and February 2015.

The researchers found that mortality rates were 21 percent among those with low blood levels of the virus, 53 percent among those with medium levels, and 81 percent among those with high levels. When patients' average levels of Ebola in the blood increased 10-fold in July 2014, the death rate rose 14 percent.

The study also found a link between age and mortality. Patients younger than 5 and older than 45 had higher mortality rates compared to those ages 15 to 44. Children ages 5 to 14 had lower mortality rates than the 15- to 44-year-olds, the researchers said. They cautioned, however, that the results might not apply outside a hospital setting.

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