Scientists have found that for the first time a woman has infected others by harboring the Ebola virus in her immune system for more than a year. The invention involved the delivery within a Liberian family in the closing days of the West African plague that lasted from December 2014 till 2016 that killed more than 11, 325 people out of 28,600 infected people. After the discovery of this new episode, the scientists are full of questions and do not know how the virus stayed in the women’s body for more than 13 months before infecting others and becoming lethal.
The woman was reported ill soon after her delivery and doctors believe that because of the suppressed immune system that normally happens during pregnancy might have triggered the relapsing process in her. The case study has been published on Monday by Lancet Infectious Diseases that has put doctors in a worrisome situation because the fear of Ebola survivors and the discrimination against them still continues in Africa and the statement that a woman survivor can spread the virus to others might worsen the situation.
Although women have been found with traces of viruses in their breast milk and spinal fluid who recover but only the male survivors had the tendency to infect and spread the virus to others. The transmission is possible through intercourse because the virus can stay in the semen for almost two years.
The woman’s family showed symptoms of the Ebola virus in 2015 that was six months after Liberia announced Ebola virus outbreak was over. The oldest son of the woman was hospitalized when he started throwing up at the age of 15. He came out with a positive test for Ebola virus and was given intensive treatment but unfortunately, he died 10 days after his first symptoms showed up.
The contact tracers asked his entire family to go for the tests when their son died of the Ebola virus. The tests were conducted on his mother, father, and three younger brothers aged 8, 5 and two months. All of their relatives and neighbors were also vaccinated but none of them fell ill which indicated that the Mark vaccine worked. The blood tests and testing showed that his father and 8-year-old brother had Ebola and both recovered with intensive treatment. The 5-year-old never had the infection neither his mother nor the youngest brother. Mother was never sent for the treatments again which is not common with all the stigma and fear at that time.