Months after a male Ebola survivor tested negative for the disease, he transmitted the deadly virus to a female partner through unprotected sex, a genetic analysis revealed.
The Liberian woman, who became ill with the disease and died in March, is the first person known to contract the Ebola virus from sex, researchers reported this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. Typically, people contract Ebola from direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids from a sick or recently deceased patient.
But experts knew that the Ebola virus can linger in patients after they’ve recovered. And they speculated that sexual transmission was possible. After the virus is cleared from a patient’s blood, it can turn up in semen and other fluids for weeks or months—as long as nine months, new data suggest.