This is not good when it comes to the eradication of the Ebola virus. The facts coming from World Health Organization (WHO) has claimed that the virus can exist in the semen of male survivors for at least nine months after their initial infection appears. This is much longer than we ever thought which has raised questions on how this epidemic should be brought to an end.
These results come at a critically important time, reminding us that while Ebola case numbers continue to plummet . Ebola infected 28,000 people and killed more than 11,300 in an outbreak centered in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia that is just coming under control. Disease experts said they are only now able to learn more about Ebola and its potential longer-term effects on survivors. Jonathan Ball, a molecular virology professor at Britain’s Nottingham University, said Wednesday’s findings were worrying.
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This confirms that Ebola virus can persist in the genital tract for a considerable length of time, months after the virus has disappeared from the blood. It worryingly shows that this long-lived reservoir is a potential source of new infections,” Ball said in a statement. The research included 93 male Ebola survivors over age 18 from Freetown, who gave semen samples for testing, the men enrolled in the study two to 10 months after their illness began.
All of the men, who were tested in the first three months after becoming ill, were positive for Ebola virus. Some 65 percent tested four to six months after their illness were positive, while a quarter of those tested seven to nine months after falling ill tested positive. The researchers in a statement about their results said that “why some study participants had cleared the fragments of Ebola virus from semen earlier, others remain unclear.
Until a male Ebola survivor’s semen has twice tested negative, he should abstain from all types of sex or use condoms when engaging in sexual activity, WHO said in a statement.