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November 6, 2016: Zika Virus Could Cause Infertility in Men

“The Zika virus could cause infertility in men, a new study suggests.

“Scientists in the US discovered that mice infected with Zika had shrunken testicles, low testosterone levels and low sperm counts.

“Although the findings have not yet been replicated in humans, experts say that the virus may also have worrying conseqences for men who become infected.

“Dr. Michael Diamond, of the University of Washington, who co-authored the study, said: ‘While our study was in mice, and with the caveat that we don’t yet know whether Zika has the same effect in men, it does suggest that men might face low testosterone levels and low sperm counts after Zika infection, affecting their fertility.’

“’We don’t know for certain if the damage is irreversible, but I expect so, because the cells that hold the internal structure in place have been infected and destroyed.’

“The research is the first to link Zika to male infertility. Previously it was though that the virus, which is passed on through mosquito bites, was only dangerous for pregnant women, because it can lead to babies being born with shrunken heads and brain damage, a condition known as microcephaly. In rare cases it can also lead to Guillain-Barre syndrome which can cause paralysis and lead to death.

“According to Public Health England (PHE), some 244 British people have contracted the virus since the current outbreak from travelling abroad, but they did not have records for how many were men.

“The study authors say men may not realise they are infertile until many years after infection.

“’This is the only virus I know of that causes such severe symptoms of infertility,’ said co-author Dr. Kelle Moley, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington.

“’You might also ask, ’Wouldn’t a man notice if his testicles shrank?’ Well, probably. But we don’t really know how the severity in men might compare with the severity in mice. I assume that something is happening to the testes of men, but whether it’s as dramatic as in the mice is hard to say.’

“British experts said the findings coincided with reports that men infected with Zika suffered from pelvic pain and blood in their urine. The effects are similar to those seen following human infection with other sexually transmitted infections.”

Source: The Telegraph

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