The World Health Organization (WHO) advised men who recover from Ebola Virus Disease to abstain from having sex for at least three months to reduce the risk of passing the virus through their semen. The report was released last Friday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ebola virus can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s blood, urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk and semen.
The virus has been found in semen up to 82 days after the onset and manifestations of its symptoms. That is why they are recommending men who avoid having sexual intercourse for at least three months.
Sexual transmission of Ebola has never been recorded or documented as reported by the UN public health agency. So far, evidence does not exactly pertain on whether semen that will be tested positive for the virus is infectious. However, potential transmit is still recognized and health officials are recommending to take extra precaution in all aspects.
Ebola has taken more than 5,000 lives and infected more than 15,300 people in West Africa and other countries including the United States, Spain and Italy. The outbreak started in March this year and has silently spread in far flung areas in West Africa where there are no health care workers who can diagnose the disease. It took many lives there and there.
Majority of the deaths were in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. In the past week, these countries have reported more than 600 new cases in the past week. However, WHO reiterated that the virus cannot be spread through air, water and food.
The WHO said in their report, “Men who have recovered from Ebola virus disease should be aware that seminal fluid may be infectious for as long as three months after onset of symptoms. Because of the potential to transmit the virus sexually during this time, they should maintain good personal hygiene after masturbation, and either abstains from sex (including oral sex) for three months after onset of symptoms, or use condoms if abstinence is not possible.”