Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lancet: Mackay & Arden On Ebola In Semen Of Convalescent Men

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Credit CDC PHIL

 

 

# 9348

 

Last August, Dr. Ian Mackay writing on his VDU Blog, posted Ebola virus in semen is the real deal...., which he followed up 10 days later with  Ebola: Blood, sweat and tears, where Ian described the (somewhat limited) research to date on the level of EBOV detection in other body fluids – like tears, sweat and saliva.


Given how easily Ebola has spread these past few months in Africa – and all apparently via infected body fluids – the more we know about the risks, the better.


This week we’ve seen India isolate a man with Ebola-infected semen, more than six weeks after he was pronounced cured (Sept 30th) and released from a Liberian hospital. While this may provide additional data on the duration of viral shedding via semen, as a public health measure, many consider his isolation both excessive and unnecessary.


In a case of exceedingly good timing, yesterday Ian Mackay  and Dr. Katherine Arden published a review of the potential for semen to carry the EBOV in The Lancet.

 

 

Ebola virus in the semen of convalescent men

Ian M Mackay,Katherine E Arden
The Lancet Infectious Diseases - 19 November 2014
DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(14)71033-3

Semen is one of the body fluids from which Ebola virus disease can be contracted, presumably by delivery of the infectious virus to a mucosal surface. WHO notes that Ebola viruses can be transmitted via the semen of a man who is convalescing, for up to 7 weeks after recovery from an Ebola virus infection.1 The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control2 and Public Health Agency of Canada3 both report the 7 week figure, and the latter also refers to a period of 61 days. The United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases4 suggests a 3 month period, recommending that survivors avoid sexual contact.

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