Guinea: Ebola viral RNA in semen
A study of Ebola virus disease survivors in Guinea has added to previous evidence that the virus can persist for as long as 9 months in the semen of survivors, reinforcing the concern about a risk of sexual transmission for months after recovery.
An international team of researchers tested 98 semen samples from 68 Ebola survivors in Conakry and Macenta, Guinea, from March through October 2015, according to their 3 May 2016 report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results for Ebola RNA were positive for 10 samples collected from 8 men up to 276 days
(9 months) after their 1st symptoms.
The proportion of specimens that tested positive decreased over time, with positive results for 28.6% of specimens (4 of 14) obtained between 1 and 3 months after disease onset, 16.7% (3 of 18) collected at 4 to 6 months, and 6.5% (2 of 31) obtained at 7 to 9 months, the report says.
The researchers did not determine whether the samples contained infectious virus. Semen probably does not remain infectious during the whole period, and viral isolation and sequencing will soon be performed to determine the infectivity of samples,” they wrote.
In a study published in October 2015, Ebola RNA was found in the semen of 11 of 43 Ebola survivors who were tested between 7 and 9 months after their illness. And reports published in 2015 suggested that an Ebola case in a Liberian woman was probably caused by sexual transmission from her husband, an Ebola survivor.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that Ebola survivors abstain from sex or use condoms for up to 6 months after Ebola infection if semen testing is unavailable.
Communicated by: ProMED-mail
A new study conducted in Guinea confirms the Ebola virus (EBOV) may remain in a survivor’s semen up to one year. The new report confirms the study conducted in October 2015 in Sierra Leone. Researchers believe that fragments of the virus could remain permanently in the body of survivors and pose a danger for their sexual contacts