Ebola can continue living in semen of recovered patients

The Ebola virus.
PHOTO: Ebola can continue living in semen of recovered patients

THAILAND - Men remain contagious even after recovering from the deadly Ebola virus because it remains in the semen for an extended period, a prominent Bangkok doctor has said.

"Hence, men should be cautious in what they do. They must understand that they can pass the disease to others if they are not careful," said Prof Dr Thiravat Hemachudha, the head of the Collaborating Centre for Research and Training on Viral Zoonoses at Chula-longkorn University's Faculty of Medicine.

Thiravat said that he had learned about this from Prof Dr Michael V Callahan of the Harvard Medical School when he visited Thailand in September, and the report would be published in a world-class medical journal soon.

According to the World Health Organisation, men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks.

This year Ebola has claimed thousands of lives as there is no cure. Thiravat said that Ebola patients could only receive palliative treatment. He said providing intravenous fluids was among the measures used to help patients and a device that allowed medical staff to safely monitor a patient's fluid level was now available at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute at Nonthaburi.

"This device can transmit information on the fluid level digitally, thus reducing the risk of medical staff contracting the disease," he said.

As for measures used to screen passengers at airports, Thiravat said officials should be aware that some passengers could take pills to reduce their fever or use water to lower their temperature. "In these cases, thermo scanners do not help."