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Study Bolsters Zika Link to Rare Nerve Disorder

来源:WebMD Medical News 作者: 2016-10-7

摘要: 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- In a new report, an international team of researchers said it has developed the strongest evidence to date that Zika virus can cause a rare nerve disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome。 Neurologists from Johns Hopkins University working with researchers at six hos......


By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- In a new report, an international team of researchers said it has developed the strongest evidence to date that Zika virus can cause a rare nerve disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Neurologists from Johns Hopkins University working with researchers at six hospitals in Colombia said they detected Zika virus in the body fluids of a group of people suffering symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Guillain-Barre is a disorder that causes potentially life-threatening muscle weakness when the immune system attacks the nerves, according to background information with the study.

"This is the first solid evidence that the virus is present in patients with Guillain-Barre," said senior researcher Dr. Carlos Pardo, an associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. "In a large population from multiple centers affected by Zika outbreaks, we were able to detect and culture the virus that was affecting those patients."

The study was published Oct. 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

At least 14 patients cited in the study were diagnosed with both Zika infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome using the highest-level tests available for both illnesses, said Dr. Jennifer Frontera, a neurologist with the Cleveland Clinic. She is co-author of an accompanying editorial.

Zika is the first mosquito-borne virus known to cause terrible birth defects, most of them brain-related. In the average person, however, the virus generally causes either mild symptoms or none at all.

Because of the potential for birth defects, public health workers have placed special emphasis on protecting pregnant women from the virus.

However, there has also been an increase in cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome within South American countries hit hardest by Zika, prompting public health officials to draw a tentative link between the two.

Guillain-Barre is rare, normally afflicting about one person in 100,000, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. But when Zika struck French Polynesia several years ago, about one in 4,000 people infected with the virus also developed Guillain-Barre, Pardo said.

"There was an overwhelming increase in the number of cases of Guillain-Barre" in Colombia early in 2016, right about the time of that country's Zika outbreaks, Pardo said. "It went from one or two cases a year to 10 to 15 cases a week. That was very striking."


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