Zika virus infection as cause of congenital brain abnormalities and Guillain-Barré syndrome

Added January 12, 2017

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There was sufficient evidence found to indicate that Zika virus is a cause of congenital abnormalities and a trigger of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

In March 2016, the World Health Organization stated that there was scientific consensus that the Zika virus was a cause of the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome and of microcephaly and other congenital brain abnormalities based on rapid evidence assessments. However, consensus on causality requires systematic assessment to guide public health interventions. The objective of this systematic review was to update and re-assess the evidence for causality to assess links between Zika virus and a) congenital brain abnormalities and b) Guillain-Barré syndrome in any population. In addition the process and outcomes of an expert assessment of the evidence about causality was presented. 106 pieces of evidence from 87 groups (see Table 1 in the publication), of which 83% were published in 2016. The expert panel recognised that Zika virus alone may not be sufficient to cause either congenital brain abnormalities or Guillain-Barré syndrome but agreed that the evidence was sufficient to recommend increased public health measures.