An Ebola survivor transmitted the killer virus to his partner through unprotected sex – the first known that this has happened.
Months after the man tested negative for the tropical disease, he passed it on to his female companion during sexual intercourse.
The woman, from Liberia, died in March – but it has now emerged that she was infected between the sheets rather than by the typical method of transmission – contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of a sick or recently deceased patient.
Scientists knew that the virus can linger inside patients after they have recovered – and there had been some speculation that sexual transmission was possible.
But data now shows that it can persist in semen and other bodily fluids for as long as nine months after recovery.
The aforementioned Ebola survivor underwent a blood test for the virus 155 days before he had sex with the woman – and he tested negative for the disease.
However, semen samples taken after the woman fell ill revealed he was still shedding the virus.
Tests revealed the pair were infected with identical viruses, distinct from other versions of the Ebola virus circulating in Western Africa.
Armand Sprecher, of Doctors Without Borders, sought to ease any potential panic by pointing out that “sexual transmission remains a rare event,” adding that if it were common there would be many more cases.
Credit: Mirror UK