HealthDay News — The list of neurological disorders potentially associated with the Zika virus continues to grow, according to a letter to the editor and a perspective piece published online March 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The authors describe the case of an unidentified 81-year-old man who had been in good health before becoming feverish and then comatose while on a cruise in the South Pacific. A magnetic resonance imaging scan and a test of spinal fluid indicated meningoencephalitis.

The elderly cruise ship patient was admitted to an intensive care unit, where doctors were able to make a tentative diagnosis of Zika infection. Within several days, his condition began to improve without treatment, and 17 days after admission to the hospital he was removed from intensive care. By day 38, he was fully recovered.

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In the perspective article, Nathalie Broutet, MD, PhD, of the World Health Organization, writes that despite the lack of proof linking Zika virus with neurological disorders, “the severe potential risks demand decisive, immediate action to protect public health.”


  1. Carteaux G, Maquart M, Dessap AM, et al. Zika Virus Associated with Meningoencphalitis. New Engl J Med. 2016; doi: 10.1056/NEJMc1602964
  2. Broutet N, Krauer F, Riesen M, et al. Zika Virus as a Cause of Neurologic Disorders. New Engl J Med. 2016; doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1602708