Ebola Treated and Cured Person from Liberia Quarantined at Airport Health Organisation Quarantine Centre, Delhi
A 26 year old male, Indian, had travelled from Liberia to India and reached Delhi on 10th November, 2014. He underwent the mandatory screening at the Delhi Airport. On interview, he gave history of febrile illness for which he was admitted to a health facility in Liberia on 11th September, 2014 and got discharged on 30th September, 2014. He carried a certificate of medical clearance from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Liberia mentioning that ‘he has successfully undergone care and treatment related to Ebola Virus Disease and after post treatment assessment he has been declared free of any clinical signs and symptoms and confirmed negative by laboratory analysis’. *****
As a matter of abundant caution, he was isolated at the Airport Health Organization’s Quarantine Centre at Delhi Airport. His three blood samples tested at National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi on 10-13 November, 2014, respectively, were found negative for Ebola Virus Disease by Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT–PCR) tests. Therefore, as per WHO and CDC specifications, he is deemed to be cured. However, as has been reported in the past, the virus may continue to be positive in secretions like urine and semen for a longer time. Before releasing him from quarantine, a decision was taken to test his other body fluids. His semen sample tested at National Centre for Disease Control on 17th November, 2014 was found positive for Ebola Virus by RT-PCR. The tests for semen samples repeated at National Institute of Virology, Pune, on 17th November, 2014 also tested positive. This was confirmed by DG, ICMR on 18th November, 2014.
It is a known fact that during convalescence from Ebola Virus Disease, persons continue to shed virus in body fluids for variable periods. However, presence of virus in his semen samples may have the possibility of transmitting the disease through sexual route upto 90 days from time of clinical cure.
Currently, this person is not having any symptoms of the disease. However, he would be kept under isolation in the special health facility of Delhi Airport Health Organization, till such time his body fluids test negative and he is found medically fit to be discharged.
It is reiterated that the person concerned is a treated and cured case of Ebola Virus Disease. No cases of relapse of Ebola have been documented. All necessary precautions are being taken at the isolation facility. This would rule out even the remote possibility of spread of this disease by the sexual route. The situation is under control and there is no need for any alarm. However, all precautions are being taken in this regard.