New Study Links Zika Virus To Paralyzing Myelitis

New Study Links Zika Virus To Paralyzing Myelitis
Stripe on stripe coniferconifer / FlickrCC BY 2.0

In the wake of a global epidemic, a new study has linked the dreaded Zika virus to a paralyzing neurologic condition, myelitis.


In a report from the Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News, a team of French researchers recently linked Zika to a third complication that could cause temporary paralysis.

Head researcher Annie Lannuzel of the University Hospital Center Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe told the AFP that a 15-year-old girl who had the virus in her cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and blood developed the myelitis in January this year.

Myelitis is a severe neurologic condition that can cause paralysis. The new study, which was published in the Lancet Medical Journal, offered the first confirmed link between Zika infection and myelitis.

Like us on Facebook

Before the study, researchers believe that the Zika virus, which is transmitted by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti—the same mosquito that carries the Dengue virus—only cause subtle symptoms among adults.

Lannuzel and her team believe, with their new study, that the Zika infection might be neurotropic, which means it attacks the nervous system or the brain.

“My message is that Zika does not only affect pregnant women, and is not necessarily benign,” Lannuzel was quoted as saying by the AFP, as reported by the Daily Star.

While there still no cure nor vaccine against the virus, health officials are working on information dissemination in order to fight the curbing population of mosquitoes that carry the virus. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged researchers across the world to accumulate study results in a bid to put an end to the worsening global epidemic.

Data from WHO as of February 5, 2016 shows that at least 33 countries in the world recorded local transmission or circulation of the Zika virus. WHO noted that exposure to the virus may cause microcephaly among infants of infected mothers and Guillain-Barré syndrome or acute disorder in the nerve. The virus struck countries in the Caribbean and in South America.