An alarming development in Ebola survivors is that international health experts have uncovered that even after the blood of an Ebola survivor tests negative, the evil virus can still continue to exist and replicate in other parts of the body like the eyes and sexual organs, in an undetected manner.
In the United States, an American doctor, Dr. Ian Crozier, who had caught Ebola in Sierra Leone but had been believed to be totally cured, has now been found to have still had the Ebola virus multiplying right inside his eyeballs. This was discovered many months after his blood had tested negative. The occurrence was discovered when unexplained problems with his vision had led to a sample from liquid of his eyeballs being drawn out. The sample was tested and found to be teeming with high levels of Ebola virus that were not only alive but kicking and multiplying. The eye was so badly infected that it changed colour from blue to green.
Furthermore, experts are now strongly warning that not only should people avoid unprotected sex with Ebola survivors but even contact with discharge from sexual organs should be avoided. This is contained in a report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was commissioned after a 44-year-old woman died from Ebola in Monrovia. No one could determine how she caught the Ebola until it was discovered that her sexual partner had been cured of Ebola many months ago. A sample of his semen was tested and Ebola virus was also found inside the semen discharge off his penis. Therefore, it is now believed that if a woman has unprotected sex in her vagina with an Ebola survivor, she could catch the Ebola through her vaginal walls. Whether a female survivor can give Ebola to a male sex partner is not however known.
However, WHO guidelines now are that all male survivors should have their semen tested every month until their seminal fluid twice tests negative for the virus in week-apart tests, at which point they can resume normal sexual practices. Untested men should practice safe sex for at least 6 months after symptom onset.
Studies are also now being done to determine whether the joint pains seen in many Ebola survivors could be due to the Ebola virus continuing to exist within joint liquids long after the blood tested negative.
However, experts are also warning that Ebola survivors should not be stigmatised but rather they should be given due attention and warmth from the society.The Ebola virus found in the eyes was not contagious as it remained sealed off from the tears duct. Also the risk of sexual transmission is only if actual contact with infected semen liquid happens.