Earlier this week, we mentioned how your favorite lady friend might be looking for a tropical vacation outside of Miami, the Caribbean, and South and Central America — all places where experts have observed local transmission of the zika virus. Get stung by the wrong mosquito, and pregnant women could see their children suffer devastating health consequences — most notably, microcephaly, the condition characterized by an abnormally small brain and head in newborn babies.
All this is why we prepared a warm-weather list of our favorite zika-free vacation spots.
Now comes news that might implore you to double-check your holiday travel plans, or the CDC's comprehensive list of warnings and advisories, because women may not be the only ones at risk: Scientists now believe that zika might be related to infertility in men.
According to a study conducted at the University of Washington, mice infected with zika experienced "shrunken testicles, low testosterone levels and low sperm counts." According to The Telegraph, the study's co-author, Dr. Michael Diamond, noted that results in mice won't necessarily indicate in humans.
But: "It does suggest that men might face low testosterone levels and low sperm counts after zika infection, affecting their fertility." Even worse: The damage is believed to be permanent.
Zika remains a misunderstood disease. Earlier this week, scientists voiced interest in why northeastern Brazil has seen a huge number of cases of microcephaly, while other regions — including Colombia, also hard hit — have not, suggesting that outside factors act in ways that are, so far, poorly understood.
This latest news is a potent reminder that full understanding remains a distant goal — like, unfortunately, a vaccine.