Uptick in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome raises concern among health officials
AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan
For some adults, Zika virus is a rashy, flulike nuisance. But in a handful of people, the virus may trigger a severe neurological disease.
About one in 4,000 people infected by Zika in French Polynesia in 2013 and 2014 got a rare autoimmune disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome, researchers estimate in a study published online February 29 in the Lancet. Of 42 people diagnosed with Guillain-Barré in that outbreak, all had antibodies that signaled a Zika infection. Most also had recent symptoms of the infection. In a control group of hospital patients who did not have Guillain-Barré, researchers saw signs of Zika less frequently: Just 54 out of 98 patients tested showed signs of the virus.