In January 2016, a 15-year old girl was admitted to the Pointe-à-Pitre University Hospital in Guadeloupe, with left-side hemiplegia. The girl showed urinary retention on her second day in hospital. The left-side hemiplegia and pain became worse and the doctors recorded a loss of sensation in the legs.
The researchers detected high concentrations of Zika virus in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid on the second day after admission (9 days after the symptoms began). Tests for shingles, chickenpox, herpes virus, legionellosis and mycoplasma pneumonia were negative.
The patient was treated with methylprednisolone (1 g), an anti-inflammatory drug, from the first day and daily for 5 days. Seven days after admission, her neurological condition had improved. At present, the patient is still in hospital but she is out of danger. She has signs of moderate weakness in both legs but is walking unaided again.
For the researchers, “this case strengths the hypothesis regarding the neurotropic nature of the Zika virus. It highlights the existence of neurological complications in the acute phase of the infection, while Guillain Barré syndromes are post-infectious complications. Furthermore, this is a single case. Future studies will be needed.”
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