There is an increasing frequency of reports regarding the persistence of the Ebola virus (EBOV) in Ebola virus disease (EVD) survivors. During the 2014–2016 West African EVD epidemic, sporadic transmission events resulted in the initiation of new chains of human-to-human transmission. Multiple reports strongly suggest that these re-emergences were linked to persistent EBOV infections and included sexual transmission from EVD survivors. Asymptomatic infection and long-term viral persistence in EVD survivors could result in incidental introductions of the Ebola virus in new geographic regions and raise important national and local public health concerns. Alarmingly, although the persistence of filoviruses and their potential for sexual transmission have been documented since the emergence of such viruses in 1967, there is limited knowledge regarding the events that result in filovirus transmission to, and persistence within, the male reproductive tract. Asymptomatic infection and long-term viral persistence in male EVD survivors could lead to incidental transfer of EBOV to new geographic regions, thereby generating widespread outbreaks that constitute a significant threat to national and global public health. Here, we review filovirus testicular persistence and discuss the current state of knowledge regarding the rates of persistence in male survivors, and mechanisms underlying reproductive tract localization and sexual transmission.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited