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CBC: U of M researchers head to West Africa to study how Ebola affects reproductive system

October 22, 2019 — 

CBC Manitoba reports:

As the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues fighting the second largest Ebola virus outbreak in history, University of Manitoba researchers will travel to West Africa to help prevent survivors from sexually transmitting the disease.

Jason Kindrachuk, an associate professor from the U of M who is part of the team, said half of all male Ebola survivors who pass a blood test for the virus will unknowingly carry it in their reproductive systems for anywhere from four months to three years.

That means despite the practice of placing those with Ebola in quarantine during outbreaks, a patient who is cleared can transmit the disease through sexual intercourse, not knowing the virus is still present in his reproductive tract.

“What we know about the Ebola virus is that it decimates most major organs it infects,” Kindrachuk said.

“But it doesn’t seem to do that in the reproductive system in males. It stays and persists for a long period of time.”

Kindrachuk and two PhD candidates from the U of M will travel to Sierra Leone to interview Ebola survivors about any long-term sexual health complexities they’ve experienced, such as changes in hormone levels and libido, and the ability to conceive.

Read the full CBC story here.

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