Male Ebola survivors should abstain from sex for three months to reduce the risk of possible transmission of the virus through their semen, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Though sexual transmission of Ebola has not been documented, four studies have found that the deadly virus can persist in seminal fluid for up to 82 days in patients observed, according to the U.N. organization.

As a result, the WHO advises men recovering from Ebola to abstain from sex (including oral sex), since the bodily fluids can be infectious for at least three months after the onset of symptoms and to practice good personal hygiene after masturbation.



In addition to seminal fluid, Ebola can spread through a number of infection vectors, including blood, vomit, saliva, feces, urine, tears and vaginal fluid. Nearly 16,000 infections have been recorded since the start of the Ebola outbreak and 5,689 people have died as a result of the virus, almost all of them in West Africa, according to data from the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus was found in at least four people in the United States, resulting in one death. And the government of Mali is currently monitoring at least 271 people, following the confirmation of eight Ebola cases in the country.