Zika Virus Linked to Brain Infection


Before it was the babies but recent studies say that Zika virus could cause brain infection and serious damage in adults, warns French scientists on Thursday.

Researchers confirmed that several adults who were infected with Zika virus have been found with a brain infection called meningoencephalitis. The infection causes inflammation of the brain and it also affects the tissues that cover it.

The update came after researchers found the Zika virus in the spinal fluid of an 81-year old man admitted to a Paris hospital. He had a high fever, partial paralysis and was in a semi-comatose state.

‘It is the first case of its kind to be reported, to our knowledge.’ said Dr Guillaume Carteaux, of the Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Paris in a report by Daily Mail.

Before being admitted to the hospital, the man was on a month-long cruise. During his trip, he stopped New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.Of those, New Caledonia is counted among the places with Zika outbreak by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC).

Based on their findings, French researchers linked Zika to “myelitis”, which causes inflammation of spinal cord. The infection leads to paralysis by hindering coordination between spinal cord and body.  However, it has not been proven that the virus causes meningoencephalitis in adults.

In January, a 15-year was reported to have been infected with myelitis. She was reported to have high levels of Zika in her urine, blood and cerebrospinal fluid, reports Yahoo News.

Initially, Zika was linked with microcephaly, which is believed to cause small head-shape in newborn babies. Then it was linked to Guillain-Barre, where the whole immune system attacks the nervous system and muscles strength.

Zika has affected many parts of Latin America and some parts of the Caribbean.  Around 1.5 million people are suffering from the virus, with 745 confirmed cases.  Among the Latin American nations, Brazil is reported to be heavily affected.

Typical symptoms of Zika are low fever, joint pain and severe headache.

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