As per a new study, the persistence of Zika virus in the male reproductive organ can also impair fertility.
In humans, Zika virus can remain in semen months after infection. However, before the current study, it was not clear how the virus affected the testes, which produce testosterone and sperm, researchers said.
To examine the issue, researchers led by Erol Fikrig, Professor of Medicine at Yale University in the US, studied mice models infected with a non-lethal strain of the Zika virus.
The mice used in this study were genetically modified so the researchers could observe viral replication over an extended period of time.
The researchers found that the virus continued to replicate in testicular cells even after it was cleared from the blood.
They also discovered that 21 days after infection, the testes of infected mice were significantly smaller than those of control mice.
“This study shows how the Zika virus replicates in and damages testes,” said first author Ryuta Uraki.
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