Colombia zika virus
Colombia zika virusReuters

Three people infected with the Zika virus in Colombia died after showing symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is believed to be related to the mosquito-borne virus.  

While a man had died from the disease last November, a man and a woman died after developing similar symptoms last week, Colombian health officials told The Guardian. All three had tested positive for the Zika virus. 

Guillain-Barré syndrome, which affects the nervous system and leads to muscle weakness and even paralysis in patients, is believed to be linked to the Zika virus, just as cases of microcephaly have been connected to the virus. Microcephaly is a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads due to incomplete brain development. The sharp rise in cases of microcepahly in Brazil over the last year has been believed to be linked to the outbreak of the Zika virus in the country. 

Colombian Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria reportedly said two more people had died from Guillain-Barré syndrome, but it is still to be confirmed if they had contracted the Zika virus. 

While the Latin American nation has seen more than 20,000 cases of Zika virus infection, it has registered nearly 100 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, The Guardian report said. 

The World Health Organisation declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency earlier this week, stating that the virus had spread to 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads the Zika virus, also transmits dengue fever and chikungunya.