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New study links Zika to Guillain-Barré syndrome

New study links Zika to Guillain-Barré syndrome

Zika virus

A new study has revealed that the Zika virus could trigger temporary paralysis.

The paralysing condition known as the Guillain-Barré syndrome is caused by an abnormal immune response to an infection which results in nerve damage and paralysis.

The study was carried out in French Polynesia on 42 patients who previously had the microcephaly virus and scientists at the Institut Pasteur in France say they developed the neurological condition six days later.

The syndrome leaves patients unable to move and in extreme cases, forces them to depend on life support. While most patients eventually regain full movement, the condition can be fatal.

None of the patients from the study died but some of them still needed help walking several months after they became ill.

Following this new development, experts have warned countries with the Zika pandemic to prepare for cases of the nerve disorder since 24 out of every 100,000 people infected will go on to develop the condition.

Doctors have noticed an unusual increase in Guillain-Barré cases since last year in several countries with Zika outbreaks, including Brazil, El Salvador and Venezuela.

But as the World Health Organization reported, a large number of those patients have not yet been confirmed through laboratory testing to have contracted the Zika virus.

The international body estimates that about 4 million people will be affected by the virus this year.