France, Paris: Yesterday, France researchers said, the Zika virus, suspected of causing brain damage in babies and a neurological ailment in adults, has now also been linked to the paralysing disorder myelitis. A 15 year old girl diagnosed with acute myelitis in January had high levels of Zika in her cerebrospinal fluid, blood and urine, said Annie Lannuzel of the University Hospital Centre Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe.
She said, “This is the first published case to offer proof of a link” between myelitis and the virus sweeping Latin America and the Caribbean. The case had been described in a report published in The Lancet medical journal. “The presence of Zika virus in the cerebrospinal fluid of our patient with acute myelitis suggests that this virus might be neurotropic”, something that attacks the nervous system, Lannuzel and a team wrote in the case report.
Zika usually causes mild symptoms in adults, with a low fever, headaches and joint pain, but the virus’ quick spread has raised alarm due to an observed association with more serious health conditions. Last week, scientists said they had found the first evidence of a biological link between Zika and microcephaly, a severe deformation of the brains of unborn babies.Laboratory tests found that Zika targeted key cells involved in brain development and then destroyed or disabled them, they said.