Study Offers Evidence Of Link Between Zika, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, But More Research Needed, Experts Say

News outlets discuss findings from a study published in The Lancet showing an association between Zika virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

New York Times: New Study Links Zika Virus to Temporary Paralysis
“A new study of 42 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in French Polynesia offers the strongest evidence to date that the Zika virus can trigger temporary paralysis, researchers reported on Monday. But experts cautioned that more evidence from other locations was needed to be conclusive…” (Saint Louis, 2/29).

Reuters: Scientists find Zika increases risk of rare neurological illness
“…In a retrospective study analyzing data from a Zika outbreak in French Polynesia during 2013 and 2014, researchers led by Arnaud Fontanet of France’s Institut Pasteur calculated the estimated risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) at 2.4 for every 10,000 people infected by Zika…” (Kelland, 2/29).

USA TODAY: Zika can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome, study shows
“…About 88 percent of the Guillain-Barré patients had experienced Zika-like symptoms — such as fever, rash, and joint pain — about six days before developing paralysis, according to the study. That’s a significant detail, according to an accompanying commentary from researchers David Smith at the University of Western Australia and John Mackenzie of Curtin University, also in Australia…” (Szabo, 2/29).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.