St.maarten– The Zika virus reproduces in the vaginal tissue of pregnant mice several days after infection, according to a study by Yale researchers. From the genitals, the virus spreads and infects the fetal brain, impairing fetal development. The findings suggest that the Zika virus may replicate more robustly in the female reproductive tract than at other sites of infection, with potentially dire consequences for reproduction, said the researchers.
The study was published online in Cell.
Recent reports have confirmed sexual transmission of the Zika virus from infected men to uninfected women. However, researchers have not determined whether the Zika virus replicated in the vagina after women were exposed through sexual intercourse. The potential consequences on fetuses after sexual transmission to pregnant women were also unknown.
To explore these questions Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology and investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and her co-authors observed replication of the Zika virus in the vaginal tissue of controlled wild-type mice (genetically unmodified mice) and mice lacking genes that regulate immune system proteins known as type I interferons. Prior studies have shown that these interferons were critical to controlling the virus when it was injected in mice.
Source: Today SXM Zika-infections may have dire consequences for reproduction