Zika rav­ages testes of mice; study raises con­cern for men

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

NEW YORK >> Zika virus rav­ages the testes of male mice, sharply re­duc­ing sperm counts and fer­til­ity, says a study that raises a new specter about its threat to peo­ple.

Ex­per­i­ments found testes of in­fected mice shrank about 90 per­cent by weight, while their out­put of use­ful sperm fell by three-quar­ters on av­er­age, and of­ten more.

Now it’s time to find out if Zika causes sim­i­lar dam­age in men, ex­perts said.

“We just don’t know that yet,” said Michael Di­a­mond of the Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity School of Medicine in St. Louis, a se­nior au­thor of the study. The virus is known to in­fect a man’s re­pro­duc­tive sys­tem and per­sist in sperm and se­men, “so it’s in the right place,” he said.

Di­a­mond said he sus­pects that in mice, the dam­age is permanent.

But mice are not men, and ex­perts un­con­nected with the study agreed that it can’t be as­sumed that the mouse re­sults ap­ply to peo­ple.

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