Zika Virus May Be Linked To Guillain-Barre

Zika virus was discovered in Africa and was common in Asia. Recently it spread out to other parts of the world and caused health concerns. Usually, Zika virus causes a mild disease from which people can recover from with proper care and rest, but it becomes a major concern when it leads to birth defects in pregnant women and spikes in cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome which causes temporary paralysis.

A paper published in The Lancet already suggests a link between the outbreak of Zika and cause of Guillain Barre Syndrome following infection. The study takes into account the outbreak of Zika in the islands of French Polynesia in 2013. During the outbreak out of the 270,000 population, two thirds were infected within a period of six months. The symptoms are as simple as fever, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and rash. Apart from this about 50 infected people became partially paralyzed as a result of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). The Zika virus causes the patients’ immune system to attack its own nerves and cause paralysis. The infected people recovered after intensive care and three months of treatment.

There are more reports from El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, Suriname and Brazil on increasing incidence of neurological conditions like microcephaly that is possibly linked to Zika virus. The research team studied blood samples of Zika infected patients, GBS patients and uninfected individuals for antibodies and observed that 88% GBS patients’ blood contained neutralizing antibodies against the Zika virus establishing the suggested link. The research also cleared out dengue as not being a causative of GBS.

The evidence although not very conclusive is strongly suggestive of the link between Zika virus and GBS incidence. The chances of suffering GBS due to a Zika infection are very rare and all victims of the French Polynesian colonies survived and recovered completely. There will be rising concerns in case of an epidemic.

Denmark’s New Grocer: WeFood

Would you buy from a store that sells food close to expiry date? Well, WeFood a grocery store in Denmark has just accomplished that. It is not like the social supermarkets that serve exclusively low-income people. WeFood is open to all understanding the fact that nobody likes to be known as poor. This initiative has seen great success and their inventory is emptied out on a daily basis. There are times that they have had to make emergency deliveries. They are not the first in Europe to sell surplus food and their services are intended to the betterment of the general public.

This initiative has helped reduce food wastage in Denmark by 25% over the past five years. It is open to all and operated by volunteers. WeFood like Daily Table is a non-profit establishment. As WeFood is operated by volunteers it does not need to cover operational costs and any profit made is used to support anti-poverty initiatives in other parts of the world. While the French Government has imposed laws against food wastage implementing fines and making it mandatory to give away food in charity, Denmark has taken a more effective carrot-based approach. WeFood has been open long enough and it is expected to grow into a chain in the near future.