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New Evidence of Link Between Zika and Guillain-Barre: Study
There is new evidence that Zika may cause a rare paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barre, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
Researchers looked at 41 people in Brazil who developed the condition and found that nearly 90 percent of them had earlier suffered Zika-like symptoms such as red eyes and rash, the Associated Press reported.
However, the study authors noted that this was a small study and they don’t yet have blood test results that would show whether the patients were infected with Zika before developing Guillain-Barre.
Those results are expected in about a month.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of people in Brazil with Guillain-Barre since the Zika outbreak began, the AP reported.
Guillain-Barre causes muscle weakness and paralysis, with symptoms typically first appearing in the legs. Most people make a full recovery, but some have permanent damage. About 1 in 20 patients die, often due to paralysis of the muscles that control breathing.
Guillain-Barre has a number of causes, including bacterial and viral infections, and occurs when the immune system damages peripheral nerve cells. Scientists believe the body produces antibodies to combat a Zika infection and when the initial Zika symptoms subside, the antibodies attack the peripheral nerves, the AP reported.
A study published earlier this year found Zika antibodies in nearly all people who developed Guillain-Barre during a Zika outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013 and 2014.
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