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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 released Thursday.
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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