Can Sex Help Spread the Ebola Virus? A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday revealed that Ebola can linger up to 9 months in male survivors.
However, doctors are not sure if the existence of the virus in males’ organisms means that they are still infectious.
The study was conducted on 93 men from Sierra Leone. The doctors found the virus in approximately half of the patients.
Researchers don’t know yet why the Ebola virus persists in semen, in comparison with other body fluids. Also, they try to find out if the virus represents a threat for people coming into contact with those having this virus.
“We think there is a potential risk of exposure but we cannot determine that with 100 percent certainty right now,” declared Nathalie Broutet, an expert in diseases that can be sexually transmitted and also one of the authors of the study.
The World Health Organization stated that previous research indicated that the virus could resist in semen for almost 3 months, although in some cases they observed that it could last up to 6 months. The U.N. health agency declared that the virus’ transmission via sexual contact is not excluded, though there is a higher probability for it to be transmitted through other body fluids, such as blood.
Last year, the Ebola virus killed almost 11,000 people in West Africa. The last year’s outbreak now seems to diminish.
The journal also describes a case from Liberia where a man gave the virus to a woman through unprotected sex contact.
WHO strongly recommends that male survivors refrain from sex or use protection for about 3 month after the recovery.
As for the vaginal fluid, researchers couldn’t establish how long the virus would survive, but they don’t believe a woman could infect a man through sex.
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