Researchers from the University of Oxford have warned that semen is a good breeding place for viruses although the possibility of sexual transmission for some of the viruses has not been ascertained.


According to the study, 27 infectious viruses were found in semen after researchers reviewed 3,800 scientific articles published on viruses and semen.

Some of the viruses include Zika, Ebola, Marburg, Lassa fever, and chikungunya, along with mumps, Epstein-Barr, and chicken pox.

“Clinicians and researchers need to consider the possibility that traditionally non-sexually transmitted viruses can persist in semen, and this therefore raises the possibility of sexual transmission,” said lead researcher Alex Salam.


“Detection means that evidence of viral genetic material or viral protein was found in semen. It’s important to note that this does not mean that the virus is viable, i.e., capable of replicating.

“To prove this, the virus needs to be isolated and grown in cells or animals. For many of the viruses, this test has not been done, so we don’t know whether virus is viable or not.

“It is unclear to what extent the viruses detected in semen can also be sexually transmitted. The virus needs to be viable, but this alone may not be enough for sexual transmission. For some, we found evidence of sexual transmission, but others we found no evidence one way or the other.”


According to WebMD, the study was published in the October issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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