“Zika patients should report every single symptom to their doctors, especially if they present with any kind of eye symptoms,” said report co-author Dr. Benedito Antonio Lopes da Fonseca, an associate professor at the University of Sao Paulo.
The patient, who was in his early 40s, recovered from the condition called uveitis, a kind of inflammation in the eye. But the condition can lead to cataracts and high blood pressure in the eye, said report lead author Dr. Joao Furtado, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the University of Sao Paulo.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus has struck countries around the world, and travelers have brought it to the U.S. mainland. The American territory of Puerto Rico is facing an especially high risk, potentially placing hundreds of pregnant women in jeopardy of delivering babies with debilitating birth defects.
But no nation has been more affected than Brazil. As a result of the Zika epidemic there, almost 5,000 babies have been born with a devastating birth defect known as microcephaly after their mothers were infected with Zika early in pregnancy.
The virus is typically mild in adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most frequent symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes, possibly caused by conjunctivitis.
In addition to the cases of conjunctivitis, many children born with microcephaly are also blind, Fonseca added. But until now, only conjunctivitis has been seen in adults with Zika virus, Furtado noted.
The new case, reported in the June 22 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, describes a man who was infected with Zika and developed uveitis. Based on tests and observation of the patient, it’s clear that Zika was the cause of the condition, Fonseca said.
“We cured this patient,” Fonseca said, and he hasn’t had any further eye problems.