Doctors Discover Adult Brain Disorder Associated with Zika Virus
Scientists in Brazil have made another startling discovery associated with the Zika virus, as the mosquito-borne illness has now been tied to a brain disorder in adults called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM).
According to Reuters, ADEM is an autoimmune syndrome that attacks the brain and spinal cord, and is just the latest complication associated with the Zika virus, which has already been tied to Guillain-Barre syndrome and the birth defect microcephaly.
The report suggests ADEM causes swelling in the brain and spinal cord that damages the white protective coating surrounding nerve fibers, and the disease is usually discovered following an infection.
Dr. Maria Lucia Brito is a neurologist at Restoration Hospital in Recife, Brazil, and she made the presentation of her findings surrounding ADEM last Sunday at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Vancouver.
In her report, the doctor claimed that of the 151 patients infected with arboviruses—these include Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses—six developed symptoms consistent with autoimmune disorders. Of the six patients, all tested positive for the Zika virus, four had confirmed cases of Guillain-Barre and two had ADEM.
Dr. Brito told the media, “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.”
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