CDC Official Emphasizes Prevention as Data Show Ebola Virus Lingers in Semen

HealthDay News — Ebola virus stays present in semen longer than previously thought, and is more likely to be found in older men, according to a study published online in The Lancet Global Health.

Preliminary findings from 429 male Ebola survivors taking part in a national screening program in the African nation of Liberia showed that 9% (38) had fragments of Ebola in their semen.

Of those 38 men, 63% tested positive for Ebola in their semen a year after recovering from the disease. One man’s semen still had evidence of Ebola at least 565 days after he recovered from the illness. Men older than 40 were more likely to have Ebola fragments in their semen than younger men.

“This program provides important insights into how long Ebola remains in semen, a key component to preventing flare-ups of the disease and protecting survivors and their loved ones,” Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an agency news release. “It also shows how investments in public health capacity can save lives.”

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1. Soka MJ, Choi MJ, Baller A, et al.  Prevention of sexual transmission of Ebola in Liberia through a national semen testing and counselling programme for survivors: an analysis of Ebola virus RNA results and behavioural data. Lancet Infect Dis J. 2016;