Zika virus–related neurotropic flaviviruses infect human placental explants and cause fetal demise in mice

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Science Translational Medicine  31 Jan 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 426, eaao7090
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aao7090

Fearsome flaviviruses

Although it was identified more than half a century ago, Zika virus’s impact on unborn children of infected pregnant women was only detected in the recent epidemic. Unfortunately, Zika virus may not be unique in its ability to afflict fetal damage. To investigate this possibility, Platt and colleagues infected pregnant immunocompetent mice with related viruses. Two other flaviruses, West Nile virus and Powassan virus, caused fetal demise. These viruses could also replicate in human maternal and fetal explant tissue. If these or other neurotropic flaviviruses take off in the human population, then we may again experience congenital infections with devastating effects.

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