According to health officials, at least 36 confirmed cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (an immune system and neurological disorder believed to be linked to the Zika virus) have been reported throughout Honduras between January and mid-July. According to hospital officials, ten new cases were reported in the month of June alone. Fumigation campaigns aimed at destroying mosquito breeding grounds are possible in the coming weeks.
Initial symptoms of GBS include numbness and tingling as well as back and muscle pain, followed by weakness in the extremities that progressively worsens over the course of days or weeks. If left untreated, GBS can lead to paralysis and cardiac arrest. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), GBS can be possibly triggered by the Zika virus.
Symptoms of Zika - fever, headache (behind the eyes), conjunctivitis, rash, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain - can appear two to seven days following contraction of the disease, although the virus is asymptomatic in approximately 80 percent of cases. In addition to spreading via mosquitoes, transmission of the virus is also possible via sexual intercourse.
Individuals in Honduras are advised to consult a medical professional if presenting with the above symptoms, to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites - e.g. by wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping under mosquito-netting or in an air conditioned room - and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds (small pockets of fresh water, such as rain water that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.).