by Benson Agoha | Science News
Some countries in Africa may be emerging from the scourge of Ebola, but earlier reports that the deadly virus is not sexually transmissible has just been proved wrong.
|* The Ebola virus ( in green) can be transmitted by semen|
months after a man has recovered from the disease, a new study finds.
(Credit: via Science News)
A new report published by Science News Wednesday, say the disease can be transmitted through sex, months after a sufferer has recovered from the disease.
Writing for the Science Ticker, Lila Guterman said researchers have reported a case of a Liberian woman who contracted the virus in March through sex, transmitted from a survivor.
According to the report, researchers used studies of both people’s viral genomes and of the people’s contacts with any other possible sources of the virus, and concluded that the case represented the first known transmission of the Ebola through sexual intercourse.
|* Prof. Peter Piot discovered the Ebola Virus|
In a report titled "Molecular Evidence of Sexual Transmission of Ebola Virus" published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers said Ebola virus may persist for longer periods of time within immune-privileged sites.
The report said among convalescent patients, ebola virus was detected in breast milk up to 15 days after the onset of the disease, and that in vaginal secretions up to 33 days after the onset. In ocular aqueous humor, it was detected up to 98 days after the onset, and in semen up to 101 days after onset.
Researchers said that because one strain of Ebola called the `Marburg virus', a distant relative of EBOV, has been sexually transmitted at least once, sexual transmission of the Ebola virus is thought to be plausible.
If survivors cannot stay off sex, the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise them to abstain or use condoms during sexual relations for at least 3 months after the onset of Ebola virus.
In short the findings suggest that Ebola remains in certain parts of the body long after the blood is clear of the virus.
However, the report is also being challenged. Writing in an opinion piece "Handle Survivors with Care", also published by the The New England Journal of Medicine, Armand Sprecher of Doctors Without Borders in Brussels, notes that more than 17,000 people survived the West African Ebola outbreak.
He said: “If sexual transmission from survivors were an important means of disease propagation, we would have seen a number of cases by now.”
Read the full report here >> [ www.sciencenews.org ].