Zika 'Might Cause' Guillain-Barré Syndrome - Dream Health

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Friday, 4 March 2016

Zika 'Might Cause' Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Zika

Zika Virus Cause Severe Neurological Disorder


New research has provided the first evidence that Zika virus could cause severe neurological disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome. The study had been carried out utilising blood samples of 42 individuals who had been ill in an earlier outbreak.

According to the Lancet authors they had developed the neurological issue around six days after the Zika infection and leading scientists defined the study as `compelling’. In early February, Zika was considered to be a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organisation – WHO.

The virus transmitted by mosquitoes had caused apprehension in central and South America due to its suspected connection to under-developed brains in infants, which is a condition called microcephaly. However experts have questioned whether Zika could be connected to another medical condition also. Guillain-Barre syndrome causes muscle weakness and in some severe cases, breathing problem may need intensive care.

As per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder where the body’s immune system tends to attack part of the peripheral nervous system. The direct cause of this condition is not known though it starts with a tingling sensation and increases till some muscles seem to be completely paralyzed.

Condition Not Contagious


It could affect anyone and is not contagious where several of the patients seem to recover but some may have a certain amount of weakness. In the study where the blood of 42 individuals with GBS at the Centre Hospitalier de Polynesie Francaise had been tested, 41 of them had Zika neutralizing antibodies in their system.

Since the body only produces antibodies as a reaction to infection, researchers were of the conclusion that most of the GBS patients had been infected with Zika. Besides, most of the patients who had GBS had reported that they experienced Zika symptoms during the last six days.

Researcher thereafter compared the GBS patients with a control group out of which only 56% were carrying Zika neutralizing antibodies, a evidently lower number than GBS patients. Though the result indicated a strong connection between Zika and GBS, researchers were cautious in noting that it was the first study linking the two and the research needed to verify it.

Countries with Zika Need to Prepare for Additional Case of Nerve Disorder


Professor Arnaud Fontanet, the lead author form the Institut Pasteur in Paris had stated that these patients tended to deteriorate more rapid than is usually seen with Guillain-Barre. But once they were over the acute phase of the condition, their recovery seems to improve.

None of the 42 patients died though some still required assistance while walking, many months after their illness. The researcher state that countries with Zika need to prepare for additional case of the nerve disorder. Professor Hugh Willison from Glasgow University had informed BBC News that on an individual level, one should not be frightening people into thinking that those affected with Zika infection would automatically get Guillain-Barre since the risk is generally rather low.

However, if a million people tend to get infected with Zika, there could be hundreds of unexpected cases of Guillain-Barre. Figures from the WHO have indicated that Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Surinam together with Venezuela had reported greater than before numbers of cases in recent weeks of the syndrome. Director of the Wellcome Trust, Dr Jeremy Farrar, had said that the study provided the most compelling evidence to date of a causative connection between Zika and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

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