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Space Travel Is Causing Astronauts' Herpes To Flare Up



Dormant Viruses

A test show that dormant herpes viruses reactivate in more than half of the astronauts who travel on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station, according to a recent NASA study. missions.

"During spaceflight there is a rise in the secretion of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which are known to suppress the immune system," said study author Satish Mehta, a researcher at Johnson Space Center, in a press release. "In keeping with this, we find that astronaut's immune cells – especially those that usually suppress and eliminate viruses – become less effective during spaceflight and sometimes for up to 60 days after."

Less Effective

In research published last month In the journal Frontiers in Microbiology Mehta and colleagues found that astronauts shed more herpes viruses in their urine and saliva than before or after space travel.

NASA astronauts endure weeks or even months exposed to microgravity and cosmic radiation ̵

1; not to mention the extreme G forces of take-off and re-entry, "Mehta said. in the press release. "

Minor Symptoms

Fortunately, the symptoms were relatively rare." Out of 89 astronauts the team studied, only six experienced herpes breakouts in space, according to the paper – a rate of about seven percent.

The viral shedding also got worse the longer the astronauts were off Earth, leading researchers to worry about The phenomenon could represent a challenge for deep space travel

"While only a small proportion of develop symptoms, virus reactivation rates increase with spaceflight duration and could present a significant risk to health in missions to Mars and beyond," reads the press release. 19659003] READ MORE: Dormant viruses activate during spaceflight [ Phys.org ]


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