UW-Madison researchers to study Zika virus in monkeys

MADISON — Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison plan to use monkeys to study the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The studies start next week. Campus scientists will infect rhesus macaque monkeys with the virus to study how long it stays in their blood stream, among other things.

UW-Madison pathology professor David O'Connor says the Zika virus is "understudied" because it doesn't make people very sick.

The virus often produces either no symptoms or mild ones like fever in adults. But an outbreak in Brazil has been linked to a rare birth defect that causes a newborn's heads to be smaller.

The UW-Madison research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, which is supporting Zika-related research at other universities around the country.

The Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/20qANv7) reports the research will be conducted in secure facilities at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.