There are few signs and symptoms associated with the Zika virus. A new study has linked it to a form of temporary paralysis.
The number of Zika cases in Singapore soared to 115 on Aug. 31, with most patients showing few symptoms before getting tested.
Still, doctor’s should look out for one – the Guillain-Barré syndrome – that results in temporary paralysis, according to an analysis published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously said that the Zika virus was “strongly associated” with Guillain-Barré but did not label it as a cause.
Researchers found that there was an uncharacteristic increase in the number of Guillain-Barré cases in seven countries affected by Zika outbreaks.
The countries included in the analysis were the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia and the Brazilian state of Bahia.
“It’s pretty obvious that in all seven sites there is a clear relationship. Something is going on,” said lead author Marcos A. Espinal, the director of communicable diseases at the Pan American Health Organisation.
From last December to March 2016, officials in Venezuela predicted that there would be 70 cases of Guillain-Barré, also spread by mosquitoes. The total number of cases was a whopping 684.
During the height of Zika infections in El Salvador, occurrences of Guillain-Barré doubled from 92 to 184. There were 320 cases in Colombia instead of the expected 100.
“This is a substantial public health burden for countries that may not have well-developed health systems in place,” said Dr Kenneth C. Gorson, a professor of neurology at Tufts University School of Medicine.
“They have to have enough ventilators and I.C.U. beds” as a substantial portion of Guillain-Barré patients need breathing assistance, add Dr Gorson, who was not involved in the analysis.
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