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Zika may have negative impact on male fertility, study finds

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- Recent research by Washington University is shedding more light on the mysterious Zika virus. We already know pregnant women who become infected can have babies that are severely physically and mentally impaired. New studies now show the virus can have a negative impact on a man’s fertility.

Dr. Mira Aubuchon of the Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine in Chesterfield explains.

According to Dr. Aubuchon, three weeks after male mice were infected with Zika, their testicles shrunk, levels of their sex hormones dropped and their fertility was reduced. The mice were monitored for six weeks.

Their testicles did not heal even after the mice had cleared the virus from their bloodstreams. On the left there was a healthy mouse testicle but on the right was testicle following Zika infection. Overall, these mice were less likely to impregnate female mice.

Aubuchon says the virus is known to persist in men`s semen for months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that men who have traveled to a Zika-endemic region use condoms for six months, regardless of whether they have had symptoms of Zika infection. It’s unknown what impact this lingering virus can have on men`s reproductive systems.

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