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Ebola virus can infect human reproductive organs: Study

IANS  |  New York 

The has the potential to infect reproductive organs of humans, reveals a study conducted on macaques.

The 2014-16 outbreak was the most widespread of the in history, causing major loss of life and socio-economic disruption in the region, mainly in Guinea, and

Studies of survivors have revealed sexual transmission of virus, and that viral RNA (genetic material) can persist in semen following recovery.

While little is known about viral persistence in female reproductive tissues, pregnant women with have a maternal death rate of more than 80 per cent and a foetal death rate of nearly 100 per cent.

The new study, published in of Pathology, indicated that the can also persist in reproductive organs in both men and women survivors.

The virus may reach reproductive organs with minimal tissue immune response or signs of disease, said researchers from the in Pennsylvania, US.

For the study, the team infected four female and eight male macaques with the Makona variant of Ebola virus -- the variant responsible for the outbreak.

All the macaques succumbed to Ebola and were euthanised six to nine days after the

The reproductive tissue samples from each were analysed for signs of Ebola virus infection, organ and tissue damage, and immune responses.

The results demonstrated of the interstitial tissues and endothelium in the ovary, uterus, testis, seminal vesicle, epididymis and prostate gland, in both male and female macaques.

However, it is unclear if the detection of Ebola virus RNA in semen documented in human studies means that the is present, the researchers noted.

Additional research is needed to learn how Ebola virus persists in these sites, to determine if drugs and vaccines can cure or prevent such infections, and to understand the mechanisms of sexual transmission, including why it appears to occur only rarely in humans, they said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 09 2018. 14:02 IST