Health Highlights: May 9, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Evidence of Link Between Zika and Guillain-Barre: Study

There is new evidence that Zika may cause a rare paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barre, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

Researchers looked at 41 people in Brazil who developed the condition and found that nearly 90 percent of them had earlier suffered Zika-like symptoms such as red eyes and rash, the Associated Press reported.

However, the study authors noted that this was a small study and they don’t yet have blood test results that would show whether the patients were infected with Zika before developing Guillain-Barre.

Those results are expected in about a month.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of people in Brazil with Guillain-Barre since the Zika outbreak began, the AP reported.

Guillain-Barre causes muscle weakness and paralysis, with symptoms typically first appearing in the legs. Most people make a full recovery, but some have permanent damage. About 1 in 20 patients die, often due to paralysis of the muscles that control breathing.

Guillain-Barre has a number of causes, including bacterial and viral infections, and occurs when the immune system damages peripheral nerve cells. Scientists believe the body produces antibodies to combat a Zika infection and when the initial Zika symptoms subside, the antibodies attack the peripheral nerves, the AP reported.

A study published earlier this year found Zika antibodies in nearly all people who developed Guillain-Barre during a Zika outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013 and 2014.

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