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Zika Virus and Encephalitis

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Zika virus is currently high profile in the news and other media.  There appears to be strong evidence to suggest the virus (transmitted by mosquitoes) is causing microcephaly in some newborn children in South America, particularly Brazil. Microcephaly is a neurological condition that occurs because a child’s developing brain doesn’t grow properly.  It can cause a lifetime of intellectual and physical disability.  Recently The New England Journal of Medicine published a letter from French doctors and researchers which documented a case of meningoencephalitis (inflammation of both the meninges and the brain) in an 81 year old man who had recently been on a cruise of New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and New Zealand.  He survived and is reported to have made a relatively good outcome.  You can read the letter here: Letter 

In the October 2016 Journal of Clinical Virology, a short communication paper was published on a Fatal encephalitis associated with Zika virus infection in an adult.  You can read the full-text of the paper here: Paper. In 2017, a paper was published detailing Encephalomyelitis following Zika Virus Infection.  You read the paper here: Paper


We will continue to monitor research to ascertain whether there is a heightened risk of developing encephalitis from the Zika Virus. If you have any concerns about travel plans or associated issues please take the usual precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.  You can find a factsheet on this here: Factsheet

In the event you have an urgent concern, please contact our support team, who will be happy to assist you. 

The Encephalitis Society is the operating name of the Encephalitis Support Group which is a registered Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee.

Registered in England and Wales No. 4189027. Registered Office as above. Registered Charity No. 1087843.