Zika virus can cause acute hearing loss and eye inflammation in adults. In 2015, Brazil reported three cases of acute hearing loss in adults who were infected with the virus.
Additionally, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) updated their weekly Zika numbers.
Hearing Impairment, Now Related To Zika Virus
The two researches were published, Dec. 7. In one of the studies, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, Brazilian researchers documented three cases of acute hearing loss in adults who were carrying Zika. One of the three patients was confirmed to have the Zika virus, while the other two were most likely infected with flavivirus.
The patients were a 23 year-old man, a 54 year-old woman and a 58 year-old woman. The man was admitted to the hospital two weeks after having fever, itching and joint pain — the blood tests confirmed it was Zika.
The 54-year old woman suffered a moderate bilateral hearing loss three days after having symptoms such as dizziness, itching, headache and myalgia. The woman had both Zika virus and dengue antibodies, according to the tests.
As for the third woman, she'd been having intense hearing loss as well as tinnitus for two days. No more than two weeks before having these symptoms, the woman experienced myalgia, dizziness, itching and headache. Just like the other woman, she was diagnosed with both the virus and dengue antibodies in her body.
While the research concluded that the hearing impairment may actually be a specific manifestation of the Zika disease, they also suggested further research in order to confirm or infirm this hypothesis.
"Further investigation might also highlight others possible rare events such as permanent hearing loss, facilitating the possible recommendation of audiometry examinations in adults during ZIKAV outbreaks," noted the research.
First Zika Case With Vision Impairment
However, there has been a second study, published the same day in the scientific journal The Lancet, describing posterior uveitis — eye tissue inflammation — in a 26-year-old patient from the United States who carried the Zika virus after a trip to Puerto Rico.
Two weeks after he was diagnosed with the virus, the man accused seeing photopsias — light flashes. After the examination, the researchers concluded that the ocular lesions were minor, and the symptoms were to be resolved within three weeks.
According to the authors of the research, this was the first case of a Zika patient who accused bilaterial posterior uveitis.
"We believe this is the first reported case of bilateral posterior uveitis and acquired chorioretinal lesions associated with Zika virus disease. The presence of chorioretinal lesions in the left eye and several foci of leakage on ICG angiography bilaterally are suggestive of lesions at different stages of activity. We do not yet understand the cause of these chorioretinal lesions," quoted the research.