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Scientists Find Zika Increases Risk of Rare Neurological Illness


Group Leader, Dr Masafumi Inoue of Agency for Science Technology and Research's (A*STAR) Experimental Therapeutics Centre shows a sample to be tested with the Zika virus diagnostic test kit at their laboratory in Singapore, February 10, 2016. REUTERS/EDGAR SU

CLICK HERE - STUDY - The Lancet - Guillain-Barré Syndrome outbreak associated with Zika virus infection in French Polynesia: a case-control study - by Kate Kelland - February 29, 2016

French scientists say they have proved a link between the Zika virus and a nerve syndrome called Guillain-Barre, suggesting countries hit by the Zika epidemic will see a rise in cases of the serious neurological condition.

Guillain-Barre (GBS) is a rare syndrome in which the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system. . . .

. . . "The regions which are affected by the Zika virus epidemic are likely to see a significant increase in the number of patients with serious neurological complications, and when possible, should increase the capacity of health-care facilities to receive patients needing intensive care."


ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE - BBC - Study shows Zika 'might cause' Guillain-Barré syndrome


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Scientists Link Zika Firmly to Paralysis, as Patients in Tahiti Know Too Well - by Karen Weintraub - February 29, 2016

TAHITI, French Polynesia — The jovial former pipe fitter still laughs with wheezing breaths, but no smile. His frozen facial muscles testify that he has not fully overcome the illness that changed his life.

His ailment, called Guillain-Barré syndrome, is known for triggering temporary paralysis. . . .

. . . Tehahe is one of 42 people in French Polynesia who contracted Guillain-Barré two years ago during a months-long outbreak of Zika, which is now spreading across the Americas.


submitted by John Carroll - March 9, 2016

Nathalie Broutet, M.D., Ph.D., Fabienne Krauer, M.Sc., Maurane Riesen, M.Sc., Asheena Khalakdina, Ph.D., Maria Almiron, M.Sc., Sylvain Aldighieri, M.D., Marcos Espinal, M.D., Nicola Low, M.D., and Christopher Dye, D.Phil.
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1602708

Zika virus infections have been known in Africa and Asia since the 1940s, but the virus’s geographic range has expanded dramatically since 2007. Between January 1, 2007, and March 1, 2016, local transmission was reported in an additional 52 countries and territories, mainly in the Americas and the western Pacific, but also in Africa and southeast Asia. Zika virus infections acquired by travelers visiting those countries have been discovered at sites worldwide. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are the principal vectors, though other mosquito species may contribute to transmission. The virus was found to be neurotropic in animals in experiments conducted in the 1950s, and recent experiments have shown how it can cause neural-cell death. A rise in the incidence of Guillain–Barré syndrome, an immune-mediated flaccid paralysis often triggered by infection, was first reported in 2013 during a Zika outbreak in French Polynesia. An increase in the incidence of microcephaly, a clinical sign that can be caused by underdevelopment of the fetal brain, was first reported in northeastern Brazil in 2015, after Zika virus transmission had been confirmed there. These reports of excess cases of Guillain–Barré syndrome and microcephaly led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on February 1, 2016, and to recommend accelerated research into possible causal links between Zika virus and neurologic disorders.


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