first study providing evidence for Zika virus infection
causing Guillain-Barré syndrome has been released in The
Lancet. Researchers looked at a Zika outbreak in French
Polynesia between October 2013 and April 2014 and found an
increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome in the area during that
same time period.
risk is very small; however, there can be some association
between Zika infection and subsequent development of
Guillain-Barré syndrome and further evidence suggests there
may be a link," Mayo Clinic infectious diseases
specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh says. "It needs to be
the new data suggesting a possible link between Zika virus
infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome, it is important to
realize Guillain-Barré syndrome is still very rare — even
after an infection that could lead to it," says Tosh.
"We need to continue putting our focus with Zika virus on
pregnant women and their unborn children."
virus, which also has been linked to the birth defect
microcephaly, is primarily transmitted by the bite of an
infected Aedes species mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes
albopictus), which are also responsible for spreading dengue
and chikungunya viruses.
says it is important to find ways to control the mosquito
population. Such ways which include cleaning up garbage,
removing stagnant water sources and use of insecticides.
people who are infected with Zika virus — 80 percent —
show no symptoms, and 20 percent have mild symptoms that can
include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.