Sexual transmission of Ebola suspected in new case


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that a woman in Liberia is suspected of having contracted Ebola through sexual intercourse.

After falling ill in Monrovia, the 44-year-old victim was found to have only one link to the often-fatal disease: unprotected vaginal intercourse with a survivor.

"Published reports from previous outbreaks have demonstrated Ebola survivors can continue to harbor virus in immunologically privileged sites for a period of time after convalescence," the CDC's Athalia Christie wrote. "Ebola virus has been isolated from semen as long as 82 days after symptom onset and viral RNA has been detected in semen up to 101 days after symptom onset."

It cautioned that it is not possible to "definitively ascribe" Ebola infection to sexual contact, but recommends that contact with the semen of male Ebola survivors be avoided until more information of its infectiousness is known. Male survivors should always use condoms, the CDC recommends.

The Ebola outbreak has diminished over the past few months, according to the report.