New evidence in support of a link between Zika virus infection and an increase in the incidence of neurological syndromes in adults has come from a prospective, observational study that demonstrates the presence of the infection in both serum and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with new-onset acute neuroinflammatory disease.
From Dec. 5, 2015, to May 10, 2016, 40 patients who were hospitalized for Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), meningoencephalitis, or transverse myelitis were evaluated for Zika virus. Of those, 35 (88%) tested positive for Zika, indicating that there is a correlation between the Zika outbreak and recorded increases in neurological syndromes in adults, according to Ivan Rocha Ferreira da Silva, MD, PhD, of the neurology department of Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niteroi, Brazil, and his coauthors (JAMA Neurol. 2017 Aug 14. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.1703).is now with the department of neurology at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.
Overall, it appears that Zika virus is associated with the trend for the rapid increase in hospital admissions for certain neurological syndromes, Dr. da Silva and his coauthors said. In addition, “we believe that our method of matching CSF and blood serologic findings offers a substantial aid to minimize [costs and] cross-reactivity in countries with a high prevalence of other concurrent flavivirosis.”
The study cohort was enrolled at a tertiary care, academic hospital in Rio de Janeiro. The median age was 44, and 15 were women. The study was limited by selection of neurological syndromes that have previously been associated with other flaviviruses, the short study period, and the use of patients from only one hospital.
Dr. da Silva reported no financial disclosures. One author reported receiving grants from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento e Pesquisa and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Other study authors reported no financial disclosures.