Ebola virus can infect human reproductive organs, warns study
New York: Ebola virus can infect reproductive organs of humans, according to a study conducted on macaques.
Prior studies of survivors of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa have revealed sexual transmission of Ebola virus, and that viral RNA (Ebola virus genetic material) can persist in semen following recovery.
While little is known about viral persistence in female reproductive tissues, pregnant women with Ebola virus disease have a maternal death rate of more than 80 per cent and a foetal death rate of nearly 100 per cent. Researchers from The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US infected four female and eight male macaques with the Makona variant of Ebola virus, the variant responsible for the recent West Africa outbreak.
All the macaques succumbed to Ebola disease and were euthanized six to nine days after infection. The scientists then took reproductive tissue samples from each macaque and analysed the samples for signs of Ebola virus infection, organ and tissue damage, and immune responses. They found widespread Ebola virus infection of reproductive organs with minimal tissue immune response or signs of disease.