Sexual transmission of Ebola virus (EBOV) has been demonstrated more than a year after recovery from the acute phase of Ebola virus disease (EVD). The mechanisms underlying EBOV persistence and sexual transmission are not currently understood. Using the acute macaque model of EVD, we hypothesized EBOV would infect the reproductive tissues and sought to localize the infection in these tissues using immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy. In four female and eight male macaques that succumbed to EVD between 6 and 9 days after EBOV challenge, we demonstrate widespread EBOV infection of the interstitial tissues and endothelium in the ovary, uterus, testis, seminal vesicle, epididymis, and prostate gland, with minimal associated tissue immune response or organ pathology. Given the widespread involvement of EBOV in the reproductive tracts of both male and female macaques, it is reasonable to surmise that our understanding of the mechanisms underlying sexual transmission of EVD and persistence of EBOV in immune-privileged sites would be facilitated by the development of a nonhuman primate model in which the macaques survived past the acute stage into convalescence.
Perry, D. L., Huzella, L. M., Bernbaum, J. G., Holbrook, M. R., Jahrling, P. B., Hagen, K. R., … Johnson, R. F. (2018). Ebola Virus Localization in the Macaque Reproductive Tract during Acute Ebola Virus Disease. American Journal of Pathology, 188(3), 550–558. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2017.11.004