The link between neurological disease and infection caused by Zika and Chikungunya viruses have been investigated by the University of Liverpool researchers and Brazilian Collaborators. These viruses most probably spread in tropical regions such as Brazil and India causing large outbreaks of rash and fever.
Study was done on 201 adults with onset of neurological disease to explain neurological features of infection for several mosquito- borne viruses circulating at the same time. Zika and Chikungunya viruses are known to cause brain damage in babies leading to infection in pregnancy but this research shows that it can also cause neurological diseases in adults. Precisely, according to the research Zika was likely to cause nerve damage in arms and legs which is called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Similarly, Chikungunya was more likely to cause encephalitis and myelitis. However, stroke which could be caused by either of the viruses alone, was more likely to cause in patients infected together with both the viruses.
Among the 201 patients admitted with suspected neurological diseases linked to Zika, Chikungunya or both, 148 had confirmed infection and around a third of them were infected with more than one virus. The average age of patients was 48, and more than half were female. Only about 10% of patients were fully recovered with many having ongoing problems like seizures, weakness and problems in brain functioning.
Out of the stroke patients who aged 67, about two thirds had infection with more than one virus. Many of them had other risk factors like high blood pressure. This indicates that stroke followed by Zika and Chikungunya viral infection is mostly seen in those who are already under high risk.
“Zika viral infection usually causes rashes and fever syndrome without long-term consequences but these rare neurological complications may require intensive care support,” said Dr.Maria Luria Brito Ferreiraa, neurologist and Head of Department at Hospital Da Restauracao. In addition, Dr.Suzannah Lant, a research fellow, who worked on the research stated, “Our study highlights the potential effects of viral infection on brain with complications like stroke. This is related to Zika and Chikungunya but also to other viruses like Covid-19 which is highly being linked to neurological disorders.”
It is necessary to understand about recently emerged viruses which are circulating and creating problems such as stroke. This can be prevented with in-depth study in thenear future.