But exactly how long does the virus linger in reservoirs in the body — and for how long can it be transmitted?
To answer that question, Dr. William Fischer II, a critical care specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues analyzed semen donated by 149 men who had recovered from the virus up to almost three years earlier.
They found that 13 of these men tested positive for the presence of Ebola RNA; 11 of these men had recovered more than two years earlier. One of the 13 men tested positive for Ebola RNA after having tested negative on two prior occasions, the researchers reported July 22 in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases. The men who tested positive for Ebola virus in their semen were, on average, older than men who never tested positive. In addition, they were likelier to report the post-Ebola symptoms of vision problems and fatigue, compared with men who tested negative, the study found.
The significance of the findings is still not clear, the researchers noted in the paper.