Ebola Virus Fragments Can Stay in the Semen of Survivors for 9 months says a Recent Study

Ebola Virus Fragments Can Stay in the Semen of Survivors for 9 months says a recent Study.


Recently published on New England Journal of Medicine was the first results of a long-term study being jointly conducted by the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone Ministry of Defence, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survivors were commended for contributing to the studies that help to understand how long the virus may persist in semen.

The first phase of the study focused on testing for Ebola virus in semen because past research shows persistence in the body fluid. According to WHO,’ Better understanding of viral persistence in semen is important for supporting survivors to recover and to move forward with their lives’ The study among other things provides further evidence that survivors need continued, substantial support for the next 6 to 12 months to meet these challenges and to ensure their partners are not exposed to potential virus,” said Bruce Aylward, WHO Director-General’s Special Representative on the Ebola Research.

A total number of ‘Ninety three men over the age of 18 from Freetown, Sierra Leone, provided a semen sample that were tested to detect the presence of Ebola virus genetic material. The men enrolled in the study between two and 10 months after their illness began. Four men were tested in the first three months after their illness began, and tested positive (9/9; 100 percent). More than half of men (26/40; 65 percent) who were tested between four to six months after their illness began were positive, while one quarter (11/43; 26 percent) of those tested between seven to nine months after their illness began also tested positive. The men were given their test results along with counseling and condoms.’ ”Ebola survivors who volunteered for this study are doing something good for themselves and their families and are continuing to contribute to the fight against Ebola and our knowledge about this disease,” said Yusuf Kabba, National President of the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors.

However, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is conducting further tests of the samples to determine if the virus is live and potentially infectious. “Ebola survivors face an increasing number of recognized health complications,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “This study provides important new information about the persistence of Ebola virus in semen and helps us make recommendations to survivors and their loved ones to help them stay healthy.”

Appropriate education, counseling and regular testing for over 8000 male survivors so as to determine the existence of Ebola virus in their semen; and the measures they should take to prevent potential exposure of  their partners to the virus are required says WHO. They emphasized that until a male Ebola survivor’s semen has twice tested negative, he should abstain from all types of sexual intercourse or use condoms when engaging in sexual activity. Hands should be washed after any physical contact with semen.



As reported by WHO.

See also  Pending surrogate case

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