The 2016 Singapore Zika virus outbreak did not cause a surge in Guillain-Barré syndrome

Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System : JPNS
Thirugnanam UmapathiLisa F P Ng


Although individuals with Zika virus (ZIKV) antibodies were reported in Malaya in mid-1950s, entomological and human surveillance in Singapore did not identify autochthonous transmission until the outbreak of August-November, 2016. A total of 455 cases from 15 separate clusters were identified. We asked if this ZIKV outbreak increased the incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and aimed to characterize these cases. Eleven GBS cases, consecutively enrolled into our prospective GBS database from onset to 4 weeks after outbreak, and six controls, comprising three GBS patients enrolled before outbreak and three non-GBS patients, were examined for evidence of recent ZIKV infection. We performed serum, urine ZIKV RT-PCR, ZIKV serology, and virus neutralization assays, accounting for cross-reaction and co-infection with dengue (DENV). We found five GBS cases with only serological evidence of recent ZIKV infection (including one ZIKV-DENV co-infection). A temporal relationship with ZIKV outbreak was unlikely as two cases were GBS controls enrolled 3 months before outbreak. None reported symptoms of ZIKV infection. In addition, compared to last 10 years the national number of GBS hospitalizations did not increase during and immediat...Continue Reading


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