November 15, 2016

Zika Virus Teams Up With Other Viruses to Sicken People

Written by MAGGIE FOX

This post originally appeared on NBC News.

Two studies out Monday show that the Zika virus may not be working alone in causing strange infections in South America. It may be getting help from dengue and chikungunya, too.

One team found that mosquitoes can be infected with Zika and chikungunya at the same time and could, in theory, infect people with both viruses in a single bite.

And a second team found a range of unusual symptoms in people in Brazil last year as Zika, chikungunya and dengue all swept through populations, often infecting people at the same time. One of the oddest is known as “dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome.”

The findings, presented at a meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, add to the growing list of mysterious and previously unsuspected damage that Zika virus causes.

“Our analysis shows that each of these viruses may have the potential to cause a range of neurological complications, some very severe, and patients should be monitored for symptoms,” said Dr. Isadora Siqueira of Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, who worked on one study.

“What’s very difficult to determine is whether having a co-infection with two of these viruses increases the risk of neurological problems. We are still looking closely at the case of the patient who was infected with both chikungunya and dengue.”

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