Ebola Virus: Some Infected People Show No Symptoms, Study Says; Are They Contagious? [VIDEO]
The Ebola virus is highly contagious, making it one of the worst outbreaks in the twentieth century. However, the virus may be more virulent than previously known for it can infect people who have not exhibited any symptoms. This new study is alarming the medical community because an outbreak may be imminent if these infected but asymptomatic patients prove to be contagious.
The Ebola virus has wreak havoc in the countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The virus infected a total of 28,000 people with 11,000 confirmed dead. The number of deaths could be higher, but health workers were rushing to bury the dead in an attempt to slow down the transmission as reported in NBC News.
Ebola can be transmitted through bodily fluids. It is highly contagious because the sicker the person gets, the faster the virus multiplies in the blood. The virus can then be transmitted through sweat, urine, and feces. Family members and health workers caring for Ebola patients often get infected, which accounts for its widespread infection.
A study looked into the possibility that Ebola may linger in people who are infected but are not aware of it. The medical researchers headed by Dr. Gene Richardson of the Stanford University discovered that 25% of the subjects they tested had the Ebola virus in their blood, but have shown no symptoms of the disease according to Popular Science.
The research was conducted in a remote village in Suduku of the Kono district in Sierra Leone. A total of 187 people were quarantined after discovering that they shared latrines with Ebola victims. Fourteen people were found to have antibodies, which means that they were once infected.
These asymptomatic patients did not exhibit the usual symptoms of bleeding gums, fever, extreme vomiting and diarrhea. Researchers are considering that the villagers may be hesitant to tell the truth because of the prevailing stigma associated with Ebola patients.
The possibility that these people may not also remember events that happened more than a year ago have also been raised. However, health workers have been closely monitoring the said patients and can attest that many of these Ebola carriers did not show any symptoms.
Medical researchers are now looking into the probability that Ebola may be transmitted through its asymptomatic carriers. There is no medical evidence to prove this claim as of yet, but Ebola has been found in a man's semen months after being cleared of the infection. Clearly, there is a need for further investigation in order to better understand the virus and defeat it.