Zika Virus and Its Association With Guillain-Barre Syndrome

In 1947, a Zika virus was discovered in the Rhesus macaque. The first human infection of the Zika virus was reported in 1954. Arthropods are used as a vector for the transmission of this virus from one person to another. From time to time, outbreak of this virus becomes the part of news’ headlines. Symptoms of this infection include headache, non-purulent conjunctivitis, and muscle pain.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a disease in which the peripheral system of the body is vulnerable to the attack of body’s immune system. The most prominent symptoms are weakness and shivering of legs. Sometimes these symptoms progress to the upper portion of the body. Severe conditions often lead to paralysis. In some cases, Guillain-Barre Syndrome causes the death of the patient. There is no age or gender limitation for this disease; anyone can become prey to this disease. A simultaneous outbreak of these two diseases has proposed a hypothesis that there might be some correlation between these two conditions.

Cao-Lormeau and colleagues at the Institut Louis Malardé recognized this correlation between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barre syndrome. They have performed research on 42 patients, who were diagnosed with the Guillain-Barre syndrome. Antibodies against the Zika virus were found in 98% of Guillain-Barre syndrome patients. Study of the Cao-Lormeau and his colleagues has provided evidence that there is an association between the Zika virus and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

The Zika virus is rapidly spreading in America. The need of the time is to create awareness against this virus in order to save people from being infected by the Zika virus and associated diseases such as Guillain-Barre syndrome. CDC has reported that this virus transfers from the mother to the fetus. It can cause severe mental abnormalities in the fetus of the infected mother.

To date, there is no vaccine available for the Zika virus infection. The only thing that can save people from this infection is avoidance of mosquito bites. The specific mosquito that is associated with this infection can also transmit Chikungunya virus and dengue virus. The virus is present in the blood of the infected person during the first week of the illness. When a non-carrier mosquito bites an infected person, virus transfers from the blood of the infected person to the biting mosquito. The mosquito carries this virus and transmits it to other human beings.

Long sleeve shirts and long pants can save a person from the mosquito bites. Air conditioning places should be preferred, as mosquitoes cannot withstand low temperature. “Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered” insect repellent helps in repelling the mosquitoes that can be the source of contagious diseases. Insect repellents are not safe for infants of age less than the 2 months. Insect repellent should not be used on hands, eyes, mouth, or injured skin of the infants. Permethrin treatment can be used for clothing. Direct application of permethrin products is prohibited on the skin. These preventative measures can serve as a barrier against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.