Scientists in Brazil have discovered that the Zika Virus is tied to brain disorders in mature people.
Zika Virus infections in adults cause a brain disorder. It is an autoimmune syndrome called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis or ADEM. Normally it acts upon the brain and spinal column and wreaks havoc there.
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Zika has previously been found to cause Guillain Barre syndrome. This disorder affects the peripheral nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. It causes temporary paralysis which might even lead to difficulty in breathing. The patients have to be placed on respirators.
This new finding proves that the Zika Virus may attack the CNS as well. Thus it may be seen that Zika causes extensive neurological damage. Zika also causes microcephaly.
Conclusive evidence for this link may take some time to be firmly established though. In case of microcephaly, the babies are born with very small heads and later on they encounter developmental issues.
940 cases were due to the mothers having the Zika Virus. There were 4300 more cases of microcephaly. Some Zika Virus patients also develop encephalitis and myelitis. These diseases are caused by the infection spreading to the nerve cells.
In this case, the virus seems to have a different effect on the body than it was thought to have. The ailment termed ADEM normally develops after an infection.
It causes considerable swelling in the brain and spinal cord that harms the myelin sheath. The resultant effect is one of numbness, weakness, lost balance and eyesight as well as certain issues that resemble the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
The study involved 151 patients and was carried out between 2014 and 2015. Of these patients, two had ADEM. In both the patients, the damage had been done to the white matter in the brain.
The symptoms lasted half a year. Over 13 countries have reported cases of Guillain Barre, according to Reuters. It is definitely linked with the outbreak of Zika Virus. The ADEM cases are not as frequent as the Guillain Barre cases.
The effects in case of ADEM are different from other ailments related to the Zika Virus. Zika is to be found mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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Not all people with Zika Virus develop these symptoms which have been listed above. Further research into the matter will yield valuable evidence about the maladies let loose by the Zika Virus. That is when a cure or palliative measures will be properly applied to this devastating disease.