From Uche Uche, Damaturu.
Sexual transmission of the Ebola virus, from males to females, is a strong possibility, but has not yet been proven and less probable, but theoretically possible, is female to male transmission.
According to world organization new release, made available to Peoples Daily in Damaturu, Yobe state capital, more surveillance data and research are needed on the risks of sexual transmission, and particularly on the prevalence of viable and transmissible virus in semen over time.
In the interim, and based on present evidence, according to the new release, WHO recommends that all Ebola survivors and their sexual partners should receive counselling to ensure safe sexual practices until their semen has twice tested negative and that survivors should be provided with condoms.
It also recommends that male Ebola survivors should be offered semen testing at 3 months after onset of disease, and then, for those who test positive, every month thereafter until their semen tests negative for virus twice by RT-PCR, with an interval of one week between tests.
Ebola survivors and their sexual partners should either: abstain from all types of sex, or observe safe sex through correct and consistent condom use until their semen has twice tested negative.
Having tested negative, survivors can safely resume normal sexual practices without fear of Ebola virus transmission.
Based on further analysis of ongoing research and consideration by the WHO Advisory Group on the Ebola Virus Disease Response, WHO recommends that male survivors of Ebola virus disease practice safe sex and hygiene for 12 months from onset of symptoms or until their semen tests negative twice for Ebola virus.
Until such time, as their semen has twice tested negative for Ebola, survivors should practise good hand and personal hygiene by immediately and thoroughly washing with soap and water after any physical contact with semen, including after masturbation. During this period used condoms should be handled safely, and safely disposed of, so as to prevent contact with seminal fluids.
All survivors, their partners and families should be shown respect, dignity and compassion.
People become infected with Ebola either through contact with infected animals, usually following butchering, cooking, eating or through contact with the bodily fluids of infected humans. Most cases are caused by human to human transmission which occurs when blood or other bodily fluids or secretions, stool, urine, saliva, semen of infected people enters a healthy person’s body through broken skin or mucous membranes.
Infection can also occur if the broken skin or the mucous membranes of a healthy person comes into contact with items or environments contaminated with bodily fluids from an infected person. These may include soiled clothing, bed linen, gloves, protective equipment and medical waste such as used hypodermic syringes