WHO reports rise of neurological disorder in Zika outbreak

Army soldiers set a banner that reads in Portuguese "A mosquito is not stronger than a whole country" at the Central station, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. More than 200,000 army, navy and air force troops are fanning out across Brazil to show people how to eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, which many health officials believe is linked to severe birth defects. The nationwide offensive is part of President Dilma Rousseff's declared war on the virus that has quickly spread across the Americas. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

BERLIN (AP) — The World Health Organization says a neurological disorder is on the rise in several Latin American countries that are also seeing an outbreak of the Zika virus.

The world health body in Geneva said in a weekly report Saturday the Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), which can cause temporary paralysis, has been reported in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname and Venezuela.

The increase in Guillain-Barre cases is appearing in conjunction with the spread of the Zika virus to 33 countries and also with increasing cases of microcephaly, a rare condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads.

However, the health agency said “the cause of the increase in GBS incidence … remains unknown, especially as dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus have all been circulating simultaneously in the Americas.”


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