Almost 100 Nerve Disorder Cases in Colombia Linked to Zika Virus

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Feb 11, 2016 11:00 AM EST

A new case of illness is linked to Zika virus. In Colombia, there are nearly 100 cases of paralysis or nerve disorder that health officials link to Zika.

Almost 100 Colombians are plagued with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare nerve disorder with symptoms similar to that of the mosquito-borne Zika Virus, Colombia's National Health Institute announced, per Fox News.

According to Mayo Clinic, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder, where the immune system attacks the nerves. One will initially feel weak and a tingling sensation on his extremities. However, this sensation can quickly spread and cause the entire body to be paralyzed.

This was what Luis Molina from Cucuta, Colombia experienced when he drove his wife home last month. She jumped out of the car and ran across the street for some errand and, when she returned, he was still in the car, Stat reported.

When she asked him what he was doing in the car, his answer was, "I can't move." He then tumbled out of the car. Per the report, it was the first sign that Molina had a Guillain-Barré syndrome

The authorities recently announced that three people with Zika virus had died after being inflicted with Guillain-Barre syndrome. This is the first time health officials admitted that Zika virus could cause deaths.

"We have confirmed and attributed three deaths to Zika," said Martha Lucia Ospina, head of Colombia's National Health Institute, in a conference on Friday, Feb. 5.

"In this case, the three deaths were preceded by Guillain-Barre syndrome," she added. Six further deaths were under investigation for a possible association with Zika.

Colombian Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria announced that there was a "causal connection" between Zika, the Guillain-Barre disorder and the three deaths.

The Malay Mail Online reported that there is an increase of Guillain-Barre cases as the Zika outbreak spreads across Central and South America.

Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname and Venezuela have all reported an increase in Guillain-Barre cases.

Colombia reported an average of 242 cases of the said condition last year. However, the country reported 86 cases in just five weeks to Jan. 20, 2016.

Per the report, CDC wrote on its website: "We do not know if Zika virus infection causes GBS (Guillain-Barre syndrome). It is difficult to determine if any particular germ "causes" GBS."

According to WHO, it is impossible to determine the cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome. However, the condition is often triggered by an infection, such as HIV, the mosquito-borne dengue virus or influenza.

A team of CDC experts will be arriving in Colombia for a three-week visit to investigate the possible link between Guillain-Barre syndrome and Zika.

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