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Guillain-Barre syndrome

Several cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome in patients who had previously contracted the Zika Virus are being investigated by the health authorities.

The nerve disorder is also known as Landry's paralysis or polyneuropathy, which is a disease that causes damage to a bodies peripheral nervous system.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is rare, about one or two cases per 100,000 people every year. It is an acute and rapidly progressive inflammation of nerves that causes loss of sensation and muscle weakness. This syndrome causes the destruction, removal, or loss of the myelin sheath of a nerve. Myelin is the substance of the cell membrane that coils to form the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath serves as an electrical insulator to nerve fibers.

Guillain-Barre syndrome, which may be caused by an infection from viruses such as, the Zika Virus, causes patients to experience changes in sensation or develop pain, followed by muscle weakness beginning in the feet and hands. Guillain-Barre syndrome which is not contagious-strikes some people and not others. Health authorities are unsure as to what triggers the onset of the syndrome. The body's immune system begins to attack the body itself, which causes what is known as an autoimmune disease. The immune system is designed to only attack invading or foreign cells but in Guillain-Barre Syndrome the immune system begins to attack nerve endings.

During the Zika virus outbreak in French Polynesia, 74 patients who had contracted Zika symptoms, later developed autoimmune diseases, out of these patients, 42 were diagnosed as Guillain–Barre syndrome. In the latest outbreak in Brazil there were 121 cases of autoimmune manifestations, all of which had a history of Zika Virus like symptoms and Guillain–Barre syndrome were reported.





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