JUL 03, 2018 03:53 PM PDT

Undiagnosed Zika Infections may be Causing Miscarriage and Stillbirth

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Zika virus burst onto the scene in 2015, and in six countries, there was an increase in the number of infants born with a brain disorder called microcephaly. In 2016, it seemed like the outbreak, which can also cause blindness and sensory defects, was mostly over. New work by researchers at six National Primate Research Centers has indicated that Zika A infections might also be responsible for stillbirth and miscarriage in women that aren’t showing any sign of the infection. The findings have been reported in Nature Medicine.

Rhesus macaques were one of several non-human primates used in this study / Image credit: Pixabay

"This is an important study where all of the primate centers collaborated to provide enough data and information to further our understanding of Zika's effect on pregnancy," said Scientist Jean Patterson, Ph.D., of Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the Southwest National Primate Research Center.

 For this work, the scientists used rhesus macaques, pigtail macaques, and marmosets, which are several kinds of nonhuman primates. After female nonhuman primates (NHP) were exposed to Asian/American ZIKV (Zika virus) in early stages of their pregnancies, the team monitored their pregnancies by ultrasound and blood draws. They observed that 26 percent miscarried or had stillbirths. Few of those animals showed any other symptom of viral infection.

"The primary conclusion from this multi-center study with important implications for pregnant women infected with Zika virus is that stillbirth and miscarriage occur more frequently in infected nonhuman primates than animals not exposed to the virus," explained lead author Dawn Dudley, Ph.D., with the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. "This conclusion would not have been possible without the concerted efforts among the investigators at each institution to share and combine our data to draw statistically significant conclusions while also conserving precious nonhuman primate resources."

The researchers suggested that their findings may indicate that there may be more adverse outcomes in pregnancy due to Zika virus than what was thought.
 
Researchers are still looking for ways to treat the virus, and are trying to develop a vaccine. In some places where the risk is higher, there is greater vigilance. Along the US/Mexico border, the Texas Department of State Health Services has urged OB/GYNs to test pregnant women for Zika virus three times over the course of their pregnancy. People are urged to use protection against mosquitoes as well.

Get some Zika virus infection prevention tips from the following video. The video above shows an accurate 3D model of what the virus looks like.

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! Via Texas Biomedical Research Institute, WHO, Nature Medicine

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAY 09, 2018
Microbiology
MAY 09, 2018
A Giant Ocean Virus has Been Isolated & Characterized
One study estimated that we share the planet with at least 320,000 microorganisms have the potential to infect mammals....
MAY 25, 2018
Microbiology
MAY 25, 2018
Rise of Antibiotic Resistance Linked to Climate Change
There are several factors blamed for the rise of antibiotic resistance, and now it seems that climate change and population density may play a role....
JUN 07, 2018
Videos
JUN 07, 2018
Nipah Virus Outbreak in India Kills 17
Nipah virus, an emerging infection, was detected recently for the first time in southern India....
JUL 04, 2018
Microbiology
JUL 04, 2018
Revealing How Gut Bacteria can Impact our Health
Our GI tract pays host to trillions of microbes, which have been shown to play a highly influential role in our health and well-being....
JUL 14, 2018
Microbiology
JUL 14, 2018
Little-known STI may Become a Superbug
Scientists are growing concerned about a common sexually transmitted infection that not many people know about - MG or MGen....
AUG 02, 2018
Immunology
AUG 02, 2018
Chronic Infections Outsmart the Immune System
Chronic parasitic infection shown to take advantage of a mechanism to sustain infection and induce death of white blood cells essential to immune response....
Loading Comments...