Home Infectious Disease AAN: Zika May Be Linked to Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis

AAN: Zika May Be Linked to Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis

Researchers in Brazil detect symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis

MONDAY, April 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The Zika virus may be linked to acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 15 to 21 in Vancouver, Canada.

The new study focused on six individuals who developed neurologic symptoms after arriving at a hospital in Recife between December 2014 and June 2015. All reported symptoms consistent with the family of viruses that includes Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. For some patients, the neurologic complaints started right away; in others, symptoms started up to 15 days later, the researchers reported.

Of those six patients, two developed ADEM and four developed Guillain-Barré syndrome. When discharged from the hospital, five patients still had movement difficulties, one still had vision problems and one still had memory and cognitive issues. All six tested positive for Zika, but none tested positive for dengue or chikungunya.

“Though our study is small, it may provide evidence that in this case the virus has different effects on the brain than those identified in current studies,” study author Maria Lucia Brito Ferreira, M.D., of Restoration Hospital in Recife, Brazil, said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.

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