New Delhi, India (CNN) — An Ebola survivor
has been quarantined in India after his semen
tested positive for the virus, health officials
there have announced.
The 26-year-old man, an Indian national,
traveled to New Delhi from Liberia on November
10, almost two months after he was hospitalized
in the West African nation after showing
symptoms of the illness, India’s health ministry
said in a statement.
He was released from the Liberian hospital on
September 30 with documents declaring him
free of clinical signs linked to Ebola, the ministry
As a precautionary measure, Indian authorities
carried out tests on his body fluids, which
confirmed traces of the virus in his semen, the
“Currently, this person is not having any
symptoms of the disease. However, he would be
kept under isolation in the special health facility
of (the) Delhi Airport Health Organization, till
such time his body fluids test negative and he is
found medically fit to be discharged,” it said.
In the wake of the first detection of the deadly
virus in India, the country’s health minister, J.P.
Nadda, held talks with top officials from various
departments, the government said.
The minister advised strengthening passenger
surveillance at the country’s airports and
seaports, the government said. He also ordered
expert teams to visit states and report back to
him on preparedness to deal with the virus, it
India’s health ministry, however, urged calm.
“The situation is under control and there is no
need for any alarm. However, all precautions
are being taken in this regard,” it said in its
According to the ministry and doctors, patients
whose blood samples test negative for Ebola
after treatment continue to shed the virus in
their body fluids, such as urine and semen, for
variable periods. A survivor with infected semen
can transmit the disease to his s3zual partners,
“There is no cure that actually kills the virus,”
explained Naresh Trehan, chairman and
managing director of Medanta The Medicity
hospital near New Delhi. Patients, he said, are
treated with supportive care.
Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola
are under development, but they have not yet
been fully tested for safety or effectiveness,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention in Atlanta.
Healthcare providers, Trehan emphasized, must
adhere to standard safety protocols while
attending to Ebola patients and survivors
carrying the virus in their body fluids.
India has screened thousands of passengers
arriving from the Ebola-hit countries since the
outbreak of the disease in West Africa.
“This is like a dress-rehearsal for India, and
while we are already in the mode of
preparation, this case will help us galvanize into
action,” said Hemant Thacker, a consultant
physician and cardio-metabolic specialist at
Mumbai’s Bhatia Hospital.
“I believe we are theoretically prepared because
we have learned the lessons from the West.
That, however, doesn’t mean that our medical
authorities become complacent,” he cautioned.