Venezuelan health officials informed PAHO/WHO of increases in the number of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) cases recorded at the national level.
From 1 January to 31 January 2016, 252 GBS cases with a spatiotemporal association to Zika virus were reported. While cases were recorded in the majority of the federal territories of the country, 66 were detected in the state of Zulia, mainly in the Maracaibo municipality.
Preliminary analysis of the GBS cases in the state of Zulia indicates that the 66 cases originated from six municipalities. Of the 66 cases, 30% were 45 to 54 years old and 29% were 65 years or older; 61% were male and 39% were female. A clinical history consistent with Zika virus infection was observed in the days prior to onset of neurological symptoms in 76% of the GBS cases in the state of Zulia. Associated comorbidities were present in 65% of the cases. Patients were treated with plasmapheresis and/or immunoglobulin. In some cases, according to medical indication, both treatments were used following the treatment protocol established by the Ministry of Popular Power for Health.
Zika virus infection was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction in three GBS cases, including a fatal case with no comorbidities. A total of three cases presenting with other neurological disorders were also biologically confirmed.
Between late November to 28 January 2016, 192 cases of Zika virus infection were laboratory confirmed through reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Of the 192 cases, 110 (57%) are from the state of Zulia.