(By Estera Popowska)
Months after being declared free of Ebola, survivors can still spread the disease through unprotected sex, U.S. health officials have said. According to VOA, this was revealed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a detailed report of the case of a 44-year-old Liberian woman who is believed to have contracted Ebola through sexual intercourse with an Ebola survivor.
In one case, a man reportedly developed Ebola last September and was discharged a month later. The woman fell sick in March, a week after having sex with him, and died.
VOA says scientists had previously thought the Ebola virus could remain in semen for about three months, although suspected cases have been few and difficult to isolate. CDC officials reportedly said they were now recommending that male Ebola survivors avoid unprotected sex indefinitely. They said they were conducting further studies to see how long the virus can remain viable in the bodily fluids of male and female survivors.
Ebola is spread through contact with the body fluids of an infected person. People who survive Ebola are generally considered to be noninfectious.
VOA says Liberia has had no new Ebola cases in five weeks. If that continues, the country could be declared Ebola-free by May 9. According to sources citing, the World Health Organization , Ebola virus has killed more than 10,000 people, mostly in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, more than 24,000 people have been infected with Ebola since the West African outbreak began in December 2013. Liberia has seen the most deaths in the Ebola outbreak, with more than 4,600 reported.(VOA)