Last updated: 11:41 AM ET, Fri January 29 2016

CDC Expands Travel Warning for Zika Virus

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | January 22, 2016

CDC Expands Travel Warning for Zika Virus

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The mosquito-borne Zika virus has already been connected to birth defects in Brazilian newborns, but a new report from health officials indicates it could also be tied to a rare paralysis syndrome.

According to Gillian Mohney of ABC News, the syndrome is called Guillain-Barre, and it causes a person’s immune system to attack their nervous system. The World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization report there are multiple cases of patients being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre shortly after contracting the Zika virus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also expanded its previous warnings to pregnant women advising them to avoid travel to where the virus has been confirmed. The countries on the list include: Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde, Samoa, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

Health officials in Brazil are reporting of the 42 confirmed cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, 26 of the patients showed signs of a possible Zika virus infection. To combat the spread of the virus and investigate the connection between Zika and neurological syndromes, the CDC will be sending a team of officials to Brazil.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner told ABC News that there are approximately 3,000 to 6,000 cases of Guillain-Barre reported in the United States every year, but it can be treated with infusions of plasma when caught in time.

The CDC shared the common symptoms of the Zika virus, including fever, rash and pink eye.


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