A small prospective study found that 40% of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome tested positive for Zika virus infection during a Zika outbreak in Colombia, further strengthening the association between Guillain-Barré and Zika.
Of the 68 patients with Guillain-Barré, 42 underwent laboratory testing for the presence of Zika virus, and 17 of those patients (40%) had a confirmed positive reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for Zika, reported Beatriz Parra, PhD, of Hospital Universitario del Valle in Colombia, and colleagues.
Notably, half of these patients reported a much shorter time to onset of symptoms than is typical for Guillain-Barré, according to the results published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. In fact, 20 of 42 patients reported neurological symptoms either during or immediately after reporting symptoms of Zika virus infection. For all patients, there was a median period of 7 days from the time they reported Zika infection to reporting of Guillain-Barré symptoms.