Health Ministry: Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases not a result of Zika

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 - 08:45

The Ministry of Health says its investigations have not established any links between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the Zika virus.

The Ministry has issued a statement on the recent cases in T&T.

"The Ministry of Health wishes to address the concerns of the public following a news report that indicated seven babies were affected by Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) as a result of the Zika virus.

While there have been seven cases of GBS in Trinidad (and Tobago) for 2016, tests have ruled out Zika as the cause and all of these patients were adults.

GBS is a sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes, paralysis. While several countries experiencing Zika outbreaks have recently reported increases in GBS, it is important to note that there are several other medical conditions that can cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Investigations into the link between GBS and Zika continue worldwide and while current research suggests that GBS is strongly linked to Zika, only a small number of people with Zika virus infection get Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

 The Ministry of Health reiterates the importance of source reduction in the prevention of Zika virus infection.

·         Dispose of all unwanted containers/items in the yard or environs which can collect water and become mosquito breeding grounds.

·         Cover water containers such as barrels, drums or buckets with a mosquito proof covering.

·         Ensure that your drains and guttering allow the free flow of water.

·         Empty and scrub the sides of water vases or use dirt or sand instead to support flowers."