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Epidemiology

Zika in the testicles

Already a nightmare for families because it can cause microcephaly in babies, the Zika virus has now been found to affect males as well. A study conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis revealed that the virus damaged the testis and epididymis of male mice (Nature, October 31, 2016). Consequences may include decreased levels of such hormones as testosterone as well as reduced sperm count. This means Zika not only can be transmitted sexually, as previously shown, but can also reduce male fertility. It remains to be seen whether the findings with mice also apply to humans.

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