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Reaction to study looking at patients diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) during the Zika virus outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013-2014

Dr Peter Barlow, British Society for Immunology spokesperson, and Reader in Immunology & Infection, Edinburgh Napier University, said:

“This study provides evidence to suggest a causal link between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome in French Polynesia.  However, there is still a significant amount of work to be undertaken before the same conclusions can be extended to the Zika outbreak in South America, where local population factors may also play a role.

“Because the patient group that was analysed in this study is relatively small, the exact link between Zika and Guillain-Barre syndrome remains inconclusive.   The authors also had to consider their findings in the context of Dengue virus infection circulating in the local population, which is another viral infection associated with Guillain-Barre.

“However, the evidence that links Zika virus with Guillain-Barre syndrome is now substantially more compelling.”

This statement is in response to a paper published in The Lancet - Van-Mai Cao-Lormeau et al. 2016 The Lancet