Danish researchers: Ebola patients could be saved with simple treatment

December 10th, 2014

This article is more than 9 years old.

High survival rate using fluids and salts treatment

Danish researchers contend that many of the over 6,000 people that WHO report have died from the Ebola epidemic in west Africa could have been saved by a simple treatment.

Anders Perner, a clinical professor from the Intensive Therapy Clinic at Rigshospitalet, said in a comment in the scientific journal The Lancet that many Ebola patients languishing in west Africa could have be saved by using a simple treatment involving fluids and salts.

”They've waited too long to admit that we can potentially save lots of lives in west Africa using a simple method,” Perner, who is internationally renowned for his work involving intravenous treatment of critical ill patients using fluids, told Videnskab.dk. ”Many Ebola patients can be saved with an optimal treatment of fluids and salts.”

Perner believes that many Ebola patients die because the virus causes a serious lack of fluids and salts, those stricken with the virus can lose up to 10 litres of fluids a day through heavy diarrhoea and vomiting. 

Perner's contention was supported by his colleague Lars Østergaard, a doctor at one of Denmark's two Ebola receiving centres at Aarhus University Hospital. Østergaard pointed to the high survival rate of Ebola patients receiving intravenous treatment with fluids and salts in the west.

”When you look at how many patients survive Ebola when they come to western Europe and the USA, the figures are completely different than in west Africa,” Østergaard said.

READ MORE: Danish health personnel being deployed to fight Ebola

Where is WHO?
In west Africa, the Ebola mortality rate is 60-90 percent, as compared to only 15 percent in the west. Perner belives that fluid and salt treatments might be one of the explanations.

Perner has teamed up with six other international researchers in order to make the politicians and WHO aware of the potential of fluid and salt treatment for Ebola patients, but so far WHO has failed to react.

According to WHO, 6070 people had died from the latest Ebola outbreak in west Africa out of 17,145 cases reported. Conversely, the New York Times found that of the 23 patients who had been treated for the virus outside west Africa, 15 had survived, 3 are still in treatment and 5 have died.


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