Is Zika Virus Linked to Increased Paralysis Risk?

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In summary, doctors in Colombia are seeing an increase in cases of Guillain-Barre, a rare and potentially fatal condition that causes paralysis. This outbreak is believed to be linked to the spread of the Zika virus, which has been primarily associated with birth defects. The severity of the situation has raised concerns for the general public, especially with regards to the potential for paralysis.
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Been seeing a lot of news about this lately, such as this article:

CUCUTA, Colombia (AP) — The doctor taps Zulay Balza’s knees with a hammer and she doesn’t feel a thing. She can’t squeeze his outstretched fingers or shut her eyelids. Her face is partially paralyzed.

“The weakness started in my legs and climbed upward. The face was last. After three days, I couldn’t walk,” said Balza, 49. “My legs felt like rags.”

Balza is a patient at the public University Hospital in Cucuta, at the epicenter of the Colombian outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Only Brazil has more cases.

Two weeks ago, she came under assault by Guillain-Barre (gee-YOHN-bah-RAY), a rare and sometimes fatal affliction that is the Western world’s most common cause of general paralysis.

Alarm over the Zika epidemic spreading across the Americas has been chiefly over birth defects, but frontline physicians believe a surge in Guillain-Barre cases may also be related.

How worried should the average person be? The paralysis part scares me!
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Related to Is Zika Virus Linked to Increased Paralysis Risk?

1. What is Zika and how is it transmitted?

Zika is a viral infection that is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusions, and from mother to child during pregnancy.

2. How serious of a problem is Zika?

The severity of Zika depends on the individual's overall health and immune system. In most cases, the symptoms are mild and include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. However, Zika can cause severe birth defects in babies born to infected mothers, such as microcephaly.

3. Where is Zika found and who is at risk?

Zika is found in many countries, primarily in tropical and subtropical regions. Some of the countries with ongoing Zika transmission include Brazil, Mexico, and parts of Africa and Asia. Anyone can become infected with Zika, but pregnant women, newborns, and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk.

4. How can Zika be prevented and treated?

The best way to prevent Zika is to avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying in air-conditioned or screened areas. There is currently no specific treatment for Zika, but symptoms can be managed with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications for pain and fever.

5. What is being done to control the spread of Zika?

Governments and health organizations are taking measures to control the spread of Zika, such as mosquito control efforts, travel advisories for affected areas, and research for a vaccine. It is also important for individuals to take personal precautions and stay informed about the latest updates and recommendations regarding Zika.