The Zika epidemic flaring across the Americas has produced several hot spots with large numbers of cases. But there is no place quite like Turbo. The mosquito-borne virus has spread rapidly here and across lowland Colombia, but the city is unusual for the subsequent outbreak of a rare, debilitating disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome, whose precise link to the virus remains unclear.
Before Zika’s arrival in Turbo, a mostly Afro-Colombian town of 60,000 set amid vast banana plantations on the country’s north coast, doctors typically saw one case of Guillain-Barre a year, if that. In the past six weeks, there have been five, all of them severe. Three patients have died. One is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit. The fifth, a 10-year-old girl, hasn’t been able to move her legs in a week. READ MORE