Tucked inside the first section of today’s WSJ (11/4) on page 7 is the followng headline: “For Ebola Survivors, Sex Carries Added Risk.” In the article we discover that the virus can live in sexual fluid for as much as 90 days after people are cured of the disease. We learn that Doctors Without Borders warns discharged patients to use condoms and other African clinics give survivors certificates that emphasize NO SEX FOR 90 DAYS in capital letters. Apparently, here in our own country the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued similar warnings. Why has the general public not heard of this? The NYTimes devotes two full pages to a discussion of ebola in its Science Section today - not a mention of this topic; nothing about it on the tv talk and magazine shows.
It never came up when it was revealed that Dr. Spencer had had conjugal relations with his fiancee; it never was discussed when the public reaction to the need for quarantine was compared with the “hysteria” that accompanied the initial reaction to AIDS. It certainly was avoided in coverage of the reaction of state governors to the need for a more rigorous quarantine than suggested by the federal government. President Obama emphasized the need to focus more on honoring the heroic health workers who travel to Africa to fight the disease at its source and cautioned against any reactions not strictly based on science. Yet there is empirical evidence that the ebola virus remains alive and transmittable more than three times longer than has been suggested for safe quarantine. Is this not a proper scientific concern?
Could it be that the failure to raise this issue was a political decision meant to forestall any association of ebola with AIDS? Whatever the reason, now that this has been openly revealed as an additional source of anxiety, we need a firm and unequivocal statement from the CDC and the president who has already insinuated himself into the proper handling of this disease. NOW.
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