Ebola can remain in the body fluids even after a person has been cured. New research warns that Ebola survivors can infect people through unprotected sex.
Medical specialists arrived to the conclusion that there is a new way Ebola can be transmitted, and that is through unprotected sexual contact with a person who has survived the disease.
Scientists have suspected that sexual intercourse with survivors of the deadly disease could be a way of infecting other people. People who have been cured of Ebola have been warned about not having sexual relationships for three months and just to be safe, they were given condoms, explained researchers.
Experts believe that the virus remains in the semen for at least three months. But a new case of infection has intrigued their initial belief as a person showed signs of the virus, five months after getting infected.
Scientists have released a detailed medical report stressing around the case of a woman of 44 years old living in Liberia. It is assumed that the source of infection came from a 46 years old man who was diagnosed with Ebola and was cured in September, last year. In March the woman started to have symptoms of the virus a week after she had sexual contact with the Ebola survivor.
This has been the latest case of infection in one month. At the beginning doctors had no clue on how the woman might have gotten infected since she claimed she hasn’t participated in any funeral and didn’t get in contact with ill patients. But after the woman told them she had unprotected sex with an Ebola survivor they started to analyse the case in depth.
The man was declared cured on the 7th of October when he was released from a treatment unit. After his release he showed no symptoms of the disease. The man reportedly had unprotected sexual intercourse with another woman (of 45 years old) who was tested negative for the disease.
As previously known, Ebola can be contracted trough body fluids such as saliva, sweat, semen or urine. When the infected person is cured he or she cannot infect others anymore. However, many specialists believe that the virus remains active in the semen for almost three months.
So far, experts have dealt with 10 of such cases but they cannot fully confirm that the only way they got infected was trough sex.
Even if earlier, specialists have advised survivors to avoid unprotected sexual intercourse for at least three months, due to these events, officials are urging male Ebola survivors to restrain from unprotected sexual relationships for an undetermined period of time.
Further studies that are going to be conducted will determine what is the exact duration the virus can live inside the bodily fluids for people who have survived the virus and also the risk of it being transmitted via sexual intercourse.
This safety measures will not last the entire life of a person and they are needed for just a period of time, when referring to survivors. The difficult part about the announcement is the fact that the period of time is not yet known, but what is for sure is that they are not lifelong like HIV, explained doctor Barbara Knust, an Ebola expert.
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