Relationship between Zika and Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Relationship between Zika and Guillain-Barré Syndrome

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The World Health Organization has already shown that the Zika virus causes microcephaly in babies. Now he suspects that the Zika virus may be related to Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease, which attacks the nervous system.

The Zika Virus is considered a worldwide epidemic. It is transmitted by a mosquito, the Aedes Aegypti, the same mosquito that infects dengue disease, yellow fever or chikungunya. Now its relationship with this other disease is being studied.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (opoliradiculoneuritis) it is a disease of the nervous system. It happens when the body's defenses mistakenly attack the nervous system, causing joint problems, such as inflammation and paralysis in some areas of the body.

Often this disease appears associated with viruses or bacterial infections, such as Influenza (causing the flu), mononucleosis, pneumonia, herpes simplex ...

This syndrome occurs because the body's defenses mistakenly attack the body itself, in this case, the nervous system. Guillain-Barré disease damages part of the nerves and it can leave the patient in a wheelchair in as little as 24 hours. It begins with the legs in an upward direction, until it reaches the head. Therefore, among its symptoms are these:

- Muscle weakness, starting in the legs

- Loss of sensitivity to heat and the sense of touch to different textures

- Tingling sensation

- Paralysis

- Breathing problems and heart rhythm alteration if the disease reaches the chest

- It could become fatal in its last phase, although in most cases the disease disappears

The Zika virus is a disease transmitted by a mosquito, the Aedes Aegypti. In healthy adults, it is not a dangerous disease. In some cases (not all) it causes general discomfort, headache and joint pain, conjunctivitis and rashes throughout the body. A virus, which usually does not last more than a week. The main danger is that it attacks pregnant women, since it generates microcephaly in newborns. For this reason, the WHO recommends that countries affected by this virus allow pregnant women to abort if they wish, if they are infected by the virus.

However, the Zika virus is still being investigated, as the World Health Organization think that It can cause Guillain-Barré Syndrome in some people. This leads to paralysis for several months, until the disease disappears spontaneously. In El Salvador, a country affected by the Zika virus, cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome have increased at an alarming rate. In Honduras there have also been more than a dozen cases.

At the moment there is no effective treatment for this syndrome, although it is treated with corticosteroids to mitigate its effects.

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