Until scientists learn more about the virus and how long it stays in the body, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking Ebola survivors to either abstain from sex or use condoms 100% of the time.
The CDC revised its guidelines on Ebola transmission on Sunday night. Prior to yesterday’s revision, the CDC had urged survivors to abstain for three months following their recovery. But now, in consideration of a Liberian man who may have transmitted Ebola to his female partner many months later, the CDC has revised its guidelines. Ebola survivors are now being asked to abstain, or use condoms, indefinitely. The New York Times reports:
Ebola genetic material was found in a semen sample the man provided 175 days after he developed symptoms, 74 days longer than ever before found in a survivor. Scientists in Liberia have compared the genetic sequence of the virus found in the woman, Ruth Tugbah, 44, to partial sequences obtained from the virus in her boyfriend’s semen and in blood samples taken months ago from his potential contacts with Ebola, and found that they matched at several key points.
Thus far, the information is consistent with sexual transmission, scientists said, but not conclusive, and the study is continuing. Researchers at the C.D.C. were also trying to establish whether the sample the man provided contained infectious virus, rather than only harmless genetic material or RNA.
It’s important to note that there’s no proof yet that Ebola can be transmitted via sex, but as stated by the CDC, it “cannot be ruled out.” Looking ahead, studies are being planned to learn more, as are tests to screen for the virus in bodily fluids, including sperm, urine, and breast milk.
Read the entire article at the New York Times.