Zika Virus Infection and Guillain-Barré Syndrome: A Review Focused on Clinical and Electrophysiological Subtypes

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2017 Mar;88(3):266-271. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2016-314310. Epub 2016 Oct 31.


In 2016, we have seen a rapid emergence of Zika virus-associated Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) since its first description in a French-Polynesian patient in 2014. Current evidence estimates the incidence of GBS at 24 cases per 100 000 persons infected by Zika virus. This will result in a sharp rise in the number of GBS cases worldwide with the anticipated global spread of Zika virus. A better understanding of the pathogenesis of Zika-associated GBS is crucial to prepare us for the current epidemic. In this review, we evaluate the existing literature on GBS in association with Zika and other flavivirus to better define its clinical subtypes and electrophysiological characteristics, demonstrating a demyelinating subtype of GBS in most cases. We also recommend measures that will help reduce the gaps in knowledge that currently exist.


Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / classification
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Zika Virus / isolation & purification
  • Zika Virus Infection / epidemiology