Can Zika virus infection cause Guillain–Barré Syndrome in Colombia?

There is some evidence that Zika virus is associated with the development of Guillain–Barré Syndrome. In Colombia, there are reports of an increased detection of this syndrome. So far, authorities have registered 97 cases and 3 deaths who are reported to have had an illness compatible with Zika virus infection prior to developing the syndrome. However, how their illness was confirmed remains unclear. Further scientific studies are planned to clarify this possible association.

Advice For Travellers

Guillain–Barré syndrome is relatively rare condition characterized by the rapid-onset of a neurological illness, with muscle weakness that may develop over half a day to four weeks and that may affect the breathing muscles.

At present, the association between Zika virus and this syndrome has not been confirmed by further scientific evidence. However, as a precautionary measure, travellers can minimize the risk of exposure to Zika virus by taking all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. If neurological symptoms appear after visiting areas where Zika virus is present, travellers should consult their physician immediately.

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