WHO recommends use of polio detection systems to combat Zika-related disorder

Existing national programs for detecting polio could prove beneficial in globally targeting a neurological condition linked to Zika, according to Reuters.

The WHO says there is strong scientific consensus that Zika may cause Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological condition that results in temporary paralysis and breathing difficulties

Currently, 177 out of 194 WHO member states have surveillance systems in place to check for acute flaccid paralysis as part of the WHO's global polio eradication campaign. The systems test the stool of children under the age of 15 to confirm polio or identify non-polio acute flaccid paralysis cases, including Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The WHO believes these polio detection systems offer a valuable method for global disease protection, monitoring and response.

"With increasing evidence of linkages between Guillain-Barré syndrome and Zika virus infection, it is imperative to enhance Guillain-Barré syndrome surveillance," WHO researchers said in a statement on the agency's website. "Further investigation of AFP cases classified as being due to Guillain-Barré syndrome can be a starting point to test for Zika virus."

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