Neurological Implications of Zika Virus Infection in Adults

J Infect Dis. 2017 Dec 16;216(suppl_10):S897-S905. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jix511.


The 2015-2016 epidemic of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas and the Caribbean was associated with an unprecedented burden of neurological disease among adults. Clinically, Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) predominated among regions affected by the ZIKV epidemic, but the spectrum of neurological disease in the adults appears broader as cases of encephalopathy, encephalitis, meningitis, myelitis, and seizures have also been reported. A para-infectious temporal profile of ZIKV-associated GBS (ZIKV-GBS) has been described in clinical studies, which may suggest a direct viral neuropathic effect. However, ZIKV neuropathogenesis has not yet been fully understood. Mechanisms for ZIKV-GBS and other neurological syndromes have been hypothesized, such as adaptive viral genetic changes, immunological interactions with other circulating flaviviruses, and host and factors. This review summarizes the current evidence on ZIKV-associated neurological complications in the adults.

Keywords: Guillain-Barre syndrome; Zika virus; adult population; neurological disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Americas / epidemiology
  • Caribbean Region / epidemiology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / etiology*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / virology
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / virology
  • Zika Virus / physiology*
  • Zika Virus Infection / complications*
  • Zika Virus Infection / epidemiology
  • Zika Virus Infection / virology