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Monday, October 17, 2016
New Evidence Substantiates Guillain-Barré Syndrome–Zika Virus Link
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OCT 07, 2016 | BRIAN P. DUNLEAVY
Researchers have now identified virologic evidence of Zika virus in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), showing that the onset of the neurologic disorder can parallel the onset of systemic manifestations of the mosquito-borne infection.
Earlier studies have linked GBS and other neurologic issues with Zika virus; however, this research is arguably the first to substantiate the link—beyond epidemiologic evidence—in multiple patients. The findings were published in the October 5 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
The authors of the study, from various institutions in Colombia as well as the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, identified 68 patients from 6 university-based centers in the South American country who had been diagnosed with GBS during a Zika outbreak. The patients were evaluated prospectively as part of the Neuroviruses Emerging in the Americas Study (NEAS) and each underwent clinical and neurologic evaluation by internal medicine and neurology specialists. Clinicians performed nerve-conduction studies and electromyography and obtained samples of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for use in virologic testing for Zika as well as confirmation of GBS diagnosis. GBS diagnosis was based on the Brighton Collaboration GBS Working Group criteria. In patients with a diagnosis of the GBS level 1, 2, or 3, based on the Brighton criteria, Zika diagnosis was defined as definite, probable, or suspected, with definite cases being those confirmed via RT-PCR assay and probable cases being those with positive ELISA results.
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