Can Ebola virus be sexually transmitted?

Ebola treatment centre
Outside an Ebola treatment centre. Questions are being asked about sexual transmission of the virus. Copyright: World Bank / Vincent Tremeau, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Episode 33

With new Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa Science Focus investigates whether the Ebola virus can be sexually transmitted.

The women who were the first reported patients in both countries were married to survivors of previous Ebola outbreaks. Scientists say this possible transmission link needs careful attention, without further stigmatising survivors, who face ongoing health and social challenges.

We hear from the World Health Organization’s Margaret Harris, founder of the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors Yusuf Kabba, and Merawi Aragaw from the Africa CDC. And, researcher Jia Kangbai tells us about his new study, which will investigate what role sex could play in transmission of the Ebola virus.

Is there something you want to know about science in Africa? Send us your questions from anywhere in the world and we’ll find an expert to answer them — text or voice message via WhatsApp to +254799042513.

Africa Science Focus, with Selly Amutabi.

This programme was funded by the European Journalism Centre, through the European Development Journalism Grants programme, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation