Dengue Infection Provides Some Protection Against Zika

An epidemiological survey of children in Nicaragua discovered the association

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Previous exposure to dengue virus appears to help protect children from getting ill if they are infected with Zika virus, according to a new study. Beginning in 2004, scientists surveyed approximately 3,700 children from two to 14 years old. In an article about the study, which was published in PLOS Medicine, they told Scientific American that the risk of infection was reduced by 38 percent. The researchers expected to observe one of two scenarios: the previous dengue infection would either convey protection against—or enhance—Zika symptoms. The authors speculated that antibodies could be rendering the virus harmless, and that immune cells called memory T cells attuned to recognize the closely related dengue virus could be protecting the children from Zika. Both Zika and dengue belong to the Flavivirus genus and are transmitted by the Aedes aegyptimosquito.

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