Zika virus can cause severe neurological disorder: Study

Researchers from France have found first evidence that mosquito-borne Zika virus might cause a severe neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

GBS is a rare condition in which the body’s immune system attacks a part of the nervous system that controls muscle strength leading to muscle weakness in the legs and arms. The syndrome is also be caused by bacterial infections as well as the dengue and chikungunya viruses transmitted by be vector Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (also host for Zika Virus).

Key facts

  • The study was carried out using blood samples from 42 patients who became ill in a previous outbreak of virus.
  • It was found that patients developed the neurological problems around six days after Zika infection making the virus main culprit of severe neurological disorder.
  • However, the biological mechanism by which Zika virus triggers the Guillain-Barré syndrome has yet to be identified.

Earlier in February 2016, World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a public health emergency of international concern due to outbreak of Zika virus in Latin America and also rising cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. It is observed that there is 20-fold increase in the number of GBS cases during the Zika outbreak.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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