Sunday 10 May 2015

WHO warns that Ebola may be transmitted sexually

The World Health Organisation has issued an
interim advice on the possibility of Ebola Virus of
being sexually transmitted.

The WHO had directed all Ebola survivors and their
sexual partners to receive counselling to guard
against possible transmission of the disease.

This is contained in a statement made available by
WHO to newsmen in Lagos on Saturday.

It indicated that the sexual transmission of the
Ebola Virus had yet to be established.
WHO said, “The sexual transmission of the Ebola
Virus from males to females is a strong possibility,
but has not yet been proven; less probable, but
theoretically possible.

“Studies have shown that Ebola virus can be
isolated from semen up to 82 days after symptom

“A recent case investigation identified genetic
material (RNA) from the virus by nucleic acid
amplification tests (such as RT-PCR) 199 days after
symptom onset.

“This is well beyond the period of virus detecting
ability in the blood of survivors and long after
recovery from illness.

“The detection of virus genetic material many
months after symptom onset is assumed to reflect
the continuing, or at least very recent, presence of
live and potentially transmissible Ebola virus.”

More surveillance data and research are needed on
the risks of sexual transmission and particularly on
the prevalence of viable and transmissible virus in
semen over time, WHO said.
WHO recommends that, in the interim, all Ebola
survivors and their sexual partners should receive

It added that this is to ensure safe sexual practices
until their semen has twice tested negative; and
survivors should be provided with condoms.

“Ebola survivors and their sexual partners should
either abstain from all types of sex or observe safe
sex through correct and consistent condom use
until their semen has twice tested negative.

“Having tested negative, survivors can safely
resume normal sexual practices without fear of
Ebola virus transmission,” the statement added.


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