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article imageEbola outbreak 2014 — Virus detected in seminal fluid

By Karen Graham     Nov 30, 2014 in Health
The number of people infected with the Ebola virus has risen to over 16,000, with the death toll almost 7,000, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). But now WHO is reporting that the virus is also found in seminal and vaginal fluids.
With the Ebola outbreak still spreading in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization is saying men who have recovered from the Ebola disease should abstain from sexual intercourse for at least three months to avoid the possibility of passing the virus in their semen.
It has always been thought that the virus is spread through body fluids such as blood, saliva and feces. The possibility of the Ebola virus being spread through seminal fluid had just not been given a whole lot of thought, at least until recently. WHO also says that women survivors of the virus may also have it in their genital fluids. But the warning about abstaining from sex only applies to men.
On Thursday Nov. 27, WHO released a statement on their website saying, "Men who have recovered from Ebola virus disease should be aware that seminal fluid may be infectious for as long as three months after onset of symptoms."
WHO further advises, "Because of the potential to transmit the virus sexually during this time, they should maintain good personal hygiene after masturbating, abstain from sex for three months including oral sex after onset of symptoms, or use condoms if abstinence is not possible."
The advise is based on the continuous observation of 43 male Ebola survivors in four studies. The purpose of the studies was to see if, and for how long the convalescents continued to shed the Ebola virus in their seminal fluid. Three men who had recovered from Ebola infections continued to "shed live virus in semen 40 days, 61 days and 82 days after onset of symptoms, respectively."
Research has not shown whether the Ebola virus can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, or even if the virus in seminal fluid is infectious. But, being overly cautious, the abstinence period was put at three months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also posted similar information on the Ebola virus being in seminal fluid on their website.
More about West africa, seminal fluid, total cases, Ebola virus, abstainence
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