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October 14, 2016: Evidence Mounting Zika Virus Causes Paralytic Disease

Aedes aegypti mosquitos, potential carriers of the Zika virus, are photographed in a laboratory at the University of El Salvador, in San Salvador, Feb. 3, 2016. Researchers have found that during the height of the viral epidemic the incidence of the paralytic illness Guillain-Barre was 100 times the number of cases usually seen.

“Researchers have discovered the strongest evidence yet linking the Zika virus to the paralytic illness Guillain-Barre syndrome. During the height of the viral epidemic the incidence of Guillain-Barre was 100 times the number of cases usually seen.

“Guillain-Barre is a normally rare condition that affects the peripheral nervous system, the nerves in arms and legs that are responsible for sensation and movement. The immune system attacks the fatty myelin coating of the nerves that protect and speed signals from the brain to the limbs.

“Zika is in a family of viruses transmitted by mosquitoes called flavivirus, including dengue fever, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and chikungunya.

“Normally, there are between one and two cases of Guillian-Barre per hundred thousand adults according to Carlos Pardo, a neurologist and pathologist at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and lead author of a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“But at the height of the Zika epidemic between January and June in Colombia, where the study was conducted, hospitals were seeing 10 to 15 cases per week.

“Pardo and colleagues from six institutions in the U.S., Central and South America established the first biological evidence connecting Zika to Guillain-Barre.

“Investigators recruited 68 patients but because of research limitations were only able to look for evidence of Zika in 42 patients complaining of symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome. They underwent a genetics test looking for Zika RNA.

“Seventeen – or 40 percent – of patients showed the virus’ genetic footprint.

“Pardo’s team also conducted blood and urine tests on each patient. Investigators were able to culture the virus in the urine and found immune system-produced antibodies against Zika in the blood samples. The most positive results were in the urine.”

Source: VOA News

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