Zika-Associated Brain Injuries Found in Monkey Fetus

Scientists image fetal brain lesions in a pigtail macaque whose mother was infected with the virus while pregnant.

Tracy Vence
Sep 13, 2016

MRI of the fetal brain in a Zika virus–infected pigtail macaque UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTONAfter scientists infected a pregnant pigtail macaque with Zika virus, the primate’s fetus developed brain lesions similar to those observed in some human babies born to Zika-infected mothers, the team reported yesterday (September 12) in Nature Medicine.

“Our results remove any lingering doubt that the Zika virus is incredibly dangerous to the developing fetus and provides details as to how the brain injury develops,” study coauthor Kristina Adams Waldorf of the University of Washington School of Medicine said in a statement.

The results point to the possibility that pigtail macaques may be useful animal models of Zika virus infection, Dave O’Connor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison told STAT News, but he emphasized that more work was needed. “I think that given what we know about human Zika infection, it’s really tempting to say...