Five Months Following Infection Ebola Can Spread Through Sex

Health officials believe that survivors of Ebola can spread the deadly disease during unprotected sex up to twice as long as originally thought.

Scientists had thought that the deadly Ebola virus was able to remain in semen for up to three months. However, a recent West Africa case suggests that infection through unprotected sex could happen over five months later.

Based upon that case, health officials have now started to tell male survivors of Ebola to avoid having unprotected sex for an indefinite period. Previously they advised the survivors to use condoms for up to a minimum of three months.

On Friday, a report was released that detailed how a Liberian woman who was 44 years of age was infected likely from a man of 46 who had symptoms of Ebola in September of last year. The woman became ill this past March just one week after having sex with the man. She later died. Another woman also had sex the man at approximately the same time but she tested negative.

The virus is able to spread through contact directly with an infected person’s bodily fluids or blood. Bodily fluids include semen, sweat, saliva and urine. Once a person recovers from the virus, health officials said they are no longer contagious with the exception that a male’s semen could still contain the virus.

Investigations of other cases of Ebola recently in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have pointed towards sexual transmission from Ebola survivors. However, the cases in those three countries have yet to be confirmed, according to the Center for Disease Control in the U.S.

Less than 10 cases of this type have been mentioned, said the CDC spokesperson. It has been difficult to zero in on sex as the only way the people could have been infected, said the CDC spokesperson.

One woman located in Macenta a town in southeastern Guinea contracted the deadly virus following unprotected sex with her spouse. For the last few months, health officials have suggested that all survivors continue using condoms until more is known about the situation.

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