A study from England revealed that Ebola can still be sexually transmitted to other persons even after a person was believed to have fully recovered from the illness.
In an ABC News Australia report, it has been noted that a research published at the New England Journal of Medicine discloses that fragments of the Ebola virus were still found in the semen of male survivors several months after the persons appeared to have fully recovered.
“We have very little understanding of the long-term health consequences of having survived Ebola infections,” said biomedical sciences professor Ilhem Messaoudi of the University of California; adding that this has been the reason why studies are continuously done about the epidemic.
Jonathan Ball of the Nottingham University said that the results of the study pose more worries since such findings give a hint that the spread of the disease could still be far from over.
“This confirms that Ebola virus can persist in the genital tract for a considerable length of time, months after the virus has disappeared from the blood, and worryingly shows that this long-lived reservoir is a potential source of new infections,” said Ball, who is a molecular virology professor.
The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which was formerly called Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever, is a severely fatal illness transmitted by wild animals to people and continues to be contagious through human-to-human transmission.
According to data obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO), the present average fatality rate of the disease is at 50 percent, but has varied from 20 to 90 percent in the previous outbreaks.
The first Ebola outbreak was recorded near the tropical rainforests of Central Africa in the 1970s, and the most recent spread that started in 2014 has involved major urban and rural areas in West Africa.
“Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilisation,” the WHO stated on its website.
At present, there is still no approved vaccines for the virus, but at least two medicines are undergoing laboratory tests for possible use.