Researchers with the National Institutes of Health will study the Zika virus with the help of U.S. athletes and staff traveling to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. 

The study aims to better understand how Zika “persists in the body and to identify potential factors that influence the course of infection,” according to an announcement on the NIH website. 

“Zika virus infection poses many unknown risks, especially to those of reproductive age,” Catherine Spong, the acting director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in the release. “Monitoring the health and reproductive outcomes of members of the U.S. Olympic team offers a unique opportunity to answer important questions and help address an ongoing public health emergency.”

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