Systematic review of the literature on viral persistence and sexual transmission from recovered Ebola survivors
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.
Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on Ebola but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about Ebola on the basis of this summary alone.