Zika Outbreak Could Put $3.5B Burden on Caribbean Economy | African-American News and Black History

Caribbean, Caribbean-based initiative, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, News, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The University of the West Indies (UWI, World -

Zika Outbreak Could Put $3.5B Burden on Caribbean Economy

Caribbean, Caribbean-based initiative, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, News, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The University of the West Indies (UWI, World -

Zika Outbreak Could Put $3.5B Burden on Caribbean Economy

Thomas Langerak, PhD student at Erasmus Medical Centre, Holland, second from right, demonstrates the use of the new Caribbean database for Guillain-Barré syndrome to (L-R) Dr Azad Esack, Consultant, Neurologist, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre, Mount Hope (EWMSC); Dr Sherry Sandy, Lecturer in Adult Clinical Medicine at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine (UWI); and Dr Avidesh Panday, Consultant, Neurologist, EWMSC, Mount Hope. The meeting took place at the Adult Medicine Unit, Department of Clinical Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, September 29, 2016.
Thomas Langerak, PhD student at Erasmus Medical Centre, Holland, second from right, demonstrates the use of the new Caribbean database for Guillain-Barré syndrome to (L-R) Dr Azad Esack, Consultant, Neurologist, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre, Mount Hope (EWMSC); Dr Sherry Sandy, Lecturer in Adult Clinical Medicine at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine (UWI); and Dr Avidesh Panday, Consultant, Neurologist, EWMSC, Mount Hope. The meeting took place at the Adult Medicine Unit, Department of Clinical Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, September 29, 2016.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Caribbean has moved one step closer to uncovering the link between the Zika virus disease and a rare neurological illness.

Once an obscure pathogen, the mosquito-borne Zika virus quickly spread to more than 40 countries in the Americas after an outbreak in northeast Brazil in early 2015.

The outbreak could pose an economic burden of $3.5 billion on Latin America and the Caribbean alone, according to a World Bank estimate.

Zika is now widely feared for causing microcephaly — a birth defect in which children have malformed heads and severely stunted brain development.

The virus is also linked with an uncommon neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome, which involves extreme muscle weakness and eventual paralysis. Much is yet to be understood about the syndrome and its link to Zika, in part because it is so rare.

A study published in The Lancet in April found “evidence for Zika virus infection causing Guillain-Barré syndrome.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the Zika virus is “strongly associated” with the syndrome, but has stopped short of declaring it a cause of the condition.

Another study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August suggests that even asymptomatic Zika infections could bring on Guillain-Barré syndrome. In seven countries that experienced Zika outbreaks, there were also sharp increases in the numbers of people suffering from a form of temporary paralysis.

From April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016, a total of 164,237 confirmed and suspected cases of Zika and 1,474 cases of the Guillain-Barré syndrome were reported in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Suriname and Venezuela.

A new Caribbean-based initiative, launched by The University of the West Indies (UWI) in partnership with the Erasmus Medical Center in Holland, aims to shed even more light on the relationship between Zika and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Researchers from both institutions are working together to collect data on confirmed Guillain-Barré syndrome patients who are also confirmed Zika patients. The data can be used to generate meaningful insights into how the two illnesses are linked.

Read more here.


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