Ebola survivor from Liberia quarantined at Delhi airport

A 26-year-old Indian, who had travelled from Liberia to India and reached Delhi on 10 November, has been quarantined after he was found to have traces of the virus in his body after he underwent the mandatory screening at the Delhi Airport.

Earlier, he had undergone treatment for the febrile illness at a health facility in Liberia where he was admitted on 11 September and was subsequently discharged on 30 September. He carried a certificate of medical clearance from the ministry of health and social welfare, Government of Liberia stating, ''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,'' , an official release said.

He was isolated at the airport health organisation's quarantine centre at Delhi Airport where his three blood samples tested at National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi on 10-13 November, 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 was 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, according to the release.

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 17 November was found positive for Ebola Virus by RT-PCR. The tests for semen samples repeated at National Institute of Virology, Pune, on 17 November also tested positive. This was confirmed by DG, ICMR on 18 November 2014, it said.

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 up to 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.

The authorities, however, reiterated that the person concerned is a treated and cured case of Ebola Virus Disease and that no cases of relapse of Ebola have been documented. All necessary precautions are being taken at the isolation facility, a release said, ruling out even the remote possibility of spread of this disease by the sexual route.