The Zika virus, previously thought only to be a big threat to developing babies, also affect adult brains, researchers reported Thursday.
Tests in mice suggest the virus can get to and damage immature brain cells in adults, something that indicates Zika infection may not be as harmless for grown-ups as doctors have believed.
It will take much more study to know if human beings infected by Zika are at risk, but the report, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, adds another disturbing twist to the Zika saga.
Zika is known to home straight in on developing nerve cells, especially brain cells, when it infects a fetus. The result is devastating birth defects, a small head, known as microcephaly, profound brain destruction, and sometimes less obvious brain damage.