Ebola Can Be Passed On In Semen

New research suggests the Ebola virus can survive on surfaces for days and can be transmitted via semen. This contradicts earlier studies that indicated it cannot survive for long outside of the human body.
The new findings show that Ebola can persist on stainless steel, plastic, and Tyvek (a material used in suits worn by health-care workers to protect themselves from the virus), for more than a week. The actual survival time depending on various conditions; however, the key message is that Ebola is relatively long-lasting.
To show the rate of survival, using a climate-controlled setting, Ebola lived for 11 days on Tyvek, eight days on plastic, and four days on stainless steel. Whereas, in hot, humid conditions, typical of West Africa, the virus survived up to three days on Tyvek, and less time on the other two materials.

Further investigation revealed that Ebola can live in water for up to six days, in dried blood for up to five days, and in liquid blood outside the body for up to two weeks. This reinforces the need for special controls when disposing of any substance that may have come into contact with the virus.

Commenting on this, Vincent Munster, chief of the Virus Ecology Unit at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, told the website LiveScience:“Given the unprecedented [number] of health-care professionals who became infected with Ebola virus during the outbreak, we are trying to elucidate all potential routes of transmission and potential for persistence of the virus. We found that [the Ebola virus] can persist on surfaces.”
The findings have been published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases as “Ebola Virus Stability on Surfaces and in Fluids in Simulated Outbreak Environments.”
Additionally, there is new evidence that the virus can survive in and be transmitted via semen, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report discusses a woman in Liberia who may have contracted Ebola after having sex with a man who had been infected five months earlier but had recovered. He had no signs of Ebola in his blood, but his semen subsequently tested positive for presence of the virus. Laboratory analysis suggested a match between the viral particles recovered from the semen with the virus the woman contracted.
About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.