Study: Zika virus does cause Guillain-Barre syndrome

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

LONDON, U.K. (WPVI) -- Doctors say they have their first evidence that the Zika virus can cause a paralyzing condition.

A study reported in the medical journal Lancet detailed the connection between the virus and Guillain-Barrre syndrome, which can strike adults.

Five Latin American countries with Zika epidemics have reported a sharp increase in the condition.

The researchers looked at the 2013 Zika outbreak in French Polynesia.

They found that all the patients who developed Guillain-Barre paralysis had markers of the mosquito-borne virus in their blood.

Also, most had Zika symptoms about 6 days before paralysis set in.

In fact, people who showed symptoms of Zika were more likely to develop Guillain-Barre later than those who didn't show symptoms.

Guillain-Barre typically develops after people recover from a virus.

It is temporary but can last for months and affect the entire body.

Although some patients recover completely, 20% are left with a significant disability.

Doctors believe Zika is also to blame for microcephaly, abnormally small heads and development problems in newborns.

However, that link hasn't been completely confirmed.