Colombia Links Zika to Rare Nerve Disorder Deaths - Dream Health

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Monday 15 February 2016

Colombia Links Zika to Rare Nerve Disorder Deaths


Zika Virus – Developed Rare Nerve Disorder

Columbia has informed that three people died after getting affected with the Zika virus and developed rare nerve disorder. Alejandro Gaviria, Health Minister had stated that there was a `causal link between Zika, the Guillain-Barre disorders and the three deaths’. The mosquito-borne disease, Zika, has been connected to cases of babies born in Brazil with underdeveloped brains - microcephaly.Head of Colombia’s National Health Institute, Martha Lucia Ospina had confirmed and attributed three deaths to Zika.

She stated that `in this case, the three deaths were led by Guillain-Barre syndrome’. Guillain-Barre is considered a rare disorder wherein the immune system of the body attacks part of the nervous system and is normally deadly. Cases of the syndrome wherein the immune system attacks the nervous system causes weakness and at times paralysis has increased in tandem due to the Zika outbreak.

This has given rise to suspicions that it is a complication of the mild tropical fever. Ms Ospina also mentioned that another six deaths were investigated for probable connection to Zika. She also informed that the other cases of death connected to Zika would arise and the world is recognising that Zika could be deadly.

Complications – Respiratory Failure

The standard rate does not seem to be very high though it could be deadly. Mr Gaviria had stated that one of the fatalities had taken place in San Andres and the other two in Turbo in Antioquia department. Prof Jonathan Ball, UK virologist of the University of Nottingham had informed BBC that they had been saying Zika had been linked with Guillain-Barre and one of the complications of that could be respiratory failure.

However, it is yet probably a very rare incident. Though Zika tends to cause mild, flu-like symptoms, it has been associated to thousands of suspected birth defects. But it has still not been proved that Zika tends to cause either microcephaly or Guillain-Barre. The foremost method of infection is through mosquito bites though the scientists in Brazil state that tests on two patients discovered Zika could be found in other body fluids. Paulo Gadelha, Head of Brazil’s Fiocruz Institute, which is part of the Ministry of Health, commented that the presence of the active Zika virus has been traced in saliva and urine. However that does not mean that there is a capacity for transmission through saliva and urine.

Public Health Emergency Over Zika

Traces of genetic material of Zikahave been identified in saliva and urine during the outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013, but the authorities in Brazil state that this is the first time `active’ virus had been discovered.

According to Oswaldo Crus also from Fiocruz stated that it means that the virus is active with the capability of infecting a cell which is completely different and means that the virus is functional. Brazil had 4,783 suspected cases of babies born with small brains though only 404 had been confirmed, while 709 had been rejected and 3,670 are still being inspected.

Updated information states that avoiding mosquitoes seems the best way in preventing infection but advises men returning from affected countries to refrain from sexual activity especially during the duration of the pregnancy. The governor of Puerto Rico, in the meanwhile has declared a public health emergency over Zika. The US territory has confirmed 22 cases.

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