A study conducted in the Brazilian city of Recife revealed new details about the impact of the Zika virus on the human brain. It turns out that in addition to microcephaly syndrome and Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disease may be associated with a dangerous autoimmune disorder – acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.
Related: 4, 000 Cases of Microcephaly are Reported in Brazil
From December 2014 to June 2015 in a hospital for rehabilitation treatment in Recife were patients admitted with symptoms of Zika fever. From six of these, tests confirmed the autoimmune damage to the nervous system, which developed within one to two weeks.
Four patients were diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, and examination of other two showed acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. The disease is associated with inflammation of the brain and meninges, which cause a loss of myelin – the protective covering that surrounds nerve fibers.
Damage to the myelin leads to symptoms resembling multiple sclerosis: weakness, fatigue, impaired coordination of movements, problems with eyes, memory and thinking.
Related: Scientists Have Proven Harmfulness of Zika Virus to Children’s Brain
Dr. Maria Lucia Brito Ferreira, linking Zika virus with autoimmune lesions of the brain, says that not all undergone fever patients are at risk, but now doctors have to consider that possibility.
Zika virus began to spread rapidly in South and North America in May 2015. The epidemic outbreaks occurred in northeast Brazil and then migrated to dozens of other countries. The disease is associated with an increased risk of microcephaly in newborns whose mothers were infected during pregnancy.
Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes genus Aedes aegypti, to deal with which Latin American countries today use huge financial and human resources.
In 2016, the WHO declared the Zika virus global threat to public health, but the vaccine trial promises to be prepared by the scientific community only in September.
The number of confirmed and suspected cases of microcephaly in infants in Brazil related to an infected mother by Zika fever have reached 4976 cases. This was reported on Wednesday, March 9 by the Ministry of Health of the South American country.
Among them, the number of 745 is for confirmed cases and 4,261 is for suspected.
Brazil is considered one of the most affected countries by Zika fever. More than 80% of cases of infection recorded in the east of the country, including in the state of Pernambuco. In general disease affected 16 of the 27 states.
Earlier it was reported that the World Health Organization expects to expand the geography of the spread of the Zika virus.
Zika fever – is an acute infectious disease of monkeys, which is sometimes transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and characterized by fever with a benign course. The virus is most dangerous for pregnant women, as it causes the fetus microcephaly with potential severe brain damage.
Experts were able to prove the harmfulness of Zika virus in the course of examination of a pregnant resident of Slovenia. The complete genome of the pathogen was found in the tissues of the embryo with microcephaly, reports New England Journal of Medicine.
It is reported that the child was conceived during a stay of women in Brazil. During an ultrasound examination, which she did on arriving home, the fetus has shown so many deviations that woman has decided to terminate the pregnancy in the 28th week. The publication notes that the woman gave the fetus to the researchers.
It is known in addition to the virus, viral RNA was detected in the brain cells as well as viral virion particles with a high concentration.
Although scientists did not find any other harmful microorganisms, that are capable of causing damage in the brain. All other fetal organs were intact. Thus, the scientists concluded that the case is strong evidence of penetration of the Zika virus in the fetal brain and its harmful effects.