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Zika kills brain cells in adult mice

Virus’s effects could be more far-reaching than thought, finding suggests

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12:00pm, August 18, 2016
mouse brain

VIRAL TARGET In adult mice, Zika virus infects cells (green) in a region of the brain involved in memory and learning. 

Zika may harm grown-up brains.

The virus, which can cause brain damage in infants infected in the womb, kills stem cells and stunts their numbers in the brains of adult mice, researchers report August 18 in Cell Stem Cell. Though scientists have considered Zika primarily a threat to unborn babies, the new findings suggest that the virus may cause unknown — and potentially long-term — damage to adults as well.

In adults, Zika has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder (SN: 4/2/16, p. 29). But for most people, infection is typically mild: a headache, fever and rash lasting up to a week, or no symptoms at all. In pregnant women, though, the virus can lodge in the

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