Researchers have reported a new neurological complication of infection with the Zika virus after confirming the first case of Zika – associated sensory polyneuropathy, according to a paper published by the Journal of the Neurological Sciences
“Zika virus infection has become a new emergent neuropathological agent with several neurological complications,” said Dr. John England, who chairs the World Federation of Neurology’s Work Group on Zika.
“Outbreaks of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) associated with Zika virus infections have been reported as well as a high occurrence of a syndrome associated with congenital Zika virus infection, mainly microcephaly with brain malformations. Other neurological complications associated with Zika virus infections have also been reported such as meningoencephalitis, or acute myelitis.”
The case of a 62-year-old Honduran male who had traveled to Venezuela developed acute sensory polyneuropathy during the active phase of infection with Zika virus was described in the paper.
According to the Mayo Clinic, peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nerves and often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet. It can also affect other areas of your body.
People with peripheral neuropathy generally describe the pain as stabbing, burning or tingling. In many cases, symptoms improve, especially if caused by a treatable condition. Medications can reduce the pain of peripheral neuropathy.
“Clinicians should be aware that Zika virus infection can also cause an acute infectious sensory polyneuropathy,” says Professor Marco T. Medina, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras, also a member of the WFN Zika Work Group and first author of the new publication. “Our patient is the first confirmed Zika infection case report associated with an acute sensory polyneuropathy which began during the acute infectious phase. This suggests a probable direct viral inflammatory process affecting sensory nerves, but an autoimmune etiology cannot be definitely excluded.”
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