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Mosquito-borne Flavivirus Zika and Chikungunya Virus to Trigger Stroke, Study Suggests

Jan, 2021

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According to a new collaborative research study initiated by the researchers of University of Liverpool researchers and Brazilian collaborators have reported that combination of two lethal mosquito-borne viruses including Zika and chikungunya might act as a trigger for stroke. Moreover, Zika which is responsible for brain damage in babies following infection in pregnancy, however this new research reveals its potential to cause nervous system disease in adults.

This research included study of 201 adults with new onset neurological disease, who were treated in Brazil during the 2015-2016 Zika and chikungunya epidemics in the region. The new research reveals that each virus can cause numerous neurological problems. However, researchers observed that probability of stroke was high in patients who were infected with both the viruses together. Stroke occurs when there is blockage in one of the arteries that supplies blood to the brain.

Moreover, the average age of patients was 48, and around 50% of the total participants were female. Researchers also reported that the out of the stroke patients, of an average age of 67, around 2/3 were infected with both the viruses. This indicates that risk of stroke was high in following Zika and chikungunya viral infection in patients who were previously at higher risk for stroke.

Dr. Maria Lúcia Brito Ferreira, leading the Brazilian team stated, “Zika infection most often causes a syndrome of rash and fever without many long-term consequences, but these neurological complications—although rare—can require intensive care support in hospital, often result in disability, and may cause death.”

Researchers concluded that further studies are required for better understanding of the viruses and why some viruses trigger stroke, in order to develop novel drugs to prevent this health condition.

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