Increasing reports of possible Zika virus and Gullian-Barré Syndrome association in Venezuela

In Venezuela, there are increasing reports of patients with Gullian-Barré Syndrome who might have been infected with the Zika virus. Health authorities have reported 7 deaths in patients with this Syndrome. Two of the deaths occurred in the Central Hospital in San Felipe, in Yaracuy State. Another 20 persons are hospitalized there for treatment. All the patients reported having previous symptoms compatible with Zika virus infection.

So far, there have been approximately 4,500 registered cases of Zika infection nationwide. However, because so many infected persons do not have any symptoms, some estimates of the total number of infections are as high as 400,000 cases.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Zika Fever.

Advice For Travellers

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

Because there can be simultaneous circulation of dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses, all of which can produce similar symptoms, it is difficult to establish clearly if any of these viruses are associated with Gullian-Barré Syndrome without laboratory tests before the Syndrome appears. Few, if any, of the people with this Syndrome may have been tested for Zika virus prior to developing this illness.

At present, the association 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.

Global Monitoring To Keep You Safe While You Travel

Sign up your trip to receive real-time, exclusive travel alerts to help you stay safe while away from home.