Friday, April 17, 2015

Blog #9: Ebola Researchers Take New Look at Risk of Sexual Transmission

There are studies being conducted to determine how often and how long the virus stays active in semen.  Until they get some answers and get concrete results from these studies they are advising Ebola survivors to have practice safe sex, which means wear protection.  Since there is a decrease in new cases from all three countries researchers are investigating two women bodies that died in the last month from this disease.  The women had no known risk factors but something they did have in common was that their male partners had survived Ebola last year.  This information made researchers think that maybe Ebola does last longer in semen then we originally thought.  Public health officials have had many difficult times through fighting the outbreak of Ebola; from changing burial practices to letting medical staff treat the infected patients.  WHO guidelines strongly recommend against isolating survivors when the virus is not found in their bloodstream.  According to what we already know, it is advised to practice safe sex three months after recovery.

If these studies show that semen actually has this virus in it longer than we anticipated then it could start up another outbreak in all three countries.  If more and more people are having unprotected sex with Ebola survivors then the chances are greater of more people contracting this disease and the cycle starting up again.  With different studies being conducted by different organizations and science fields this can provide more information for society.  With more education on how to prevent the spread of Ebola then less cases will be discovered and fewer people in these African countries will be affected.

Kelsey Bryant

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