The Zika virus is linked to rare neurological problems in adults – now researchers want to know if it can cause memory-harming brain damage, too.
There’s plenty of evidence infection Zika can cause brain damage in unborn babies. The virus is linked to microcephaly, a birth defect marked by a smaller-than-normal brain and head and serious neurological problems. Although adults seldom experience anything other than minor symptoms from the virus, a few have been diagnosed with conditions involving the brain and nervous system.
For example, some adult Zika patients developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes neurological symptoms, including weakness and, rarely, paralysis. A couple of Zika patients also developed acute disseminated encephalomyelitis , a serious neurological illness associated with inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.
Now research from Rockefeller University and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology suggests the virus could potentially damage adult brain cells believed to be critical for memory and learning.
"Based on our findings, getting infected with Zika as an adult may...
September 15, 2016
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA