Systematic review of the literature on viral persistence and sexual transmission from recovered Ebola survivors

Added June 20, 2019

Citation: Thorson A, Formenty P, Lofthouse C, Broutet N. Systematic review of the literature on viral persistence and sexual transmission from recovered Ebola survivors: evidence and recommendations. BMJ open. 2016 Jan 1;6(1):e008859.

Summary: The use of latex condoms has been found to be somewhat effective to minimize sexual transmission of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), but the risk will subsist for those that have contracted EVD or currently recovering.

Sexual transmission has been concluded to be a viable mode of Ebola virus transmission, especially through the transfer of semen as the virus has been more abundantly found in the semen compared to vaginal secretion. Sexual transmission of EVD was never fully understood as transmissions from sexual intercourses with convalescent patients or fully recovered patients were significant. This study aimed to find evidence to conclude when it is safe for an EVD recovered individual to have sex without transmitting it to others and to investigate how effective latex condoms are in reducing the risk of transmission.

When comparing the persistency of EVD in semen and vaginal secretions, EVD was present in semen for a much longer period post symptom. Therefore, guidelines have been published by the World Health Organization to ensure safe sex amongst those who are EVD positive. No studies have been found about latex condom usage in relation to EVD yet, but considering other body fluid transmitted viruses like HIV, it has been concluded that the use of these types of condoms will minimize the spread of EVD.


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