Man spreads Ebola via sex 5 months after infection, CDC report says

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Cynthia Goldsmith This colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion. See PHIL 1181 for a black and white version of this image. What is Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF)? Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is a severe, often-fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, […]

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ATLANTA — An Ebola survivor is believed to have spread the disease via unprotected sex more than five months after showing symptoms, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scientists thought the Ebola virus could remain in semen for about three months, but the recent case in West Africa suggests infection can happen through sex more than five months later.

The report documented the case of a 44-year-old Liberian woman whose infection likely came from a 46-year-old man who had Ebola symptoms in September 2014. The woman developed symptoms in March, a week after she had sex with him, and died.

Another woman the man had sex with around the same time tested negative for Ebola.

The report said it is not possible to definitively ascribe Ebola infection in the woman to transmission from a survivor, however “the timing of intercourse between [the man] and [the woman], the subsequent illness in [the woman], the presence of viral RNA in [the man]’s semen … and the lack of other known exposures suggest possible sexual transmission.”

Based on the case, health officials are now telling male Ebola survivors to avoid unprotected sex indefinitely.

Read more: CDC report

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