British soap star Kelly-Marie Stewart reportedly has terrible Zika virus side effects

Mar 2, 2016 at 11:55 p.m. ET
Image: WENN

The fear of the Zika virus has been very real this past month, but one British soap star says that she contracted it much earlier. Kelly-Marie Stewart, the former star of Hollyoaks, believes that Zika is to blame for her miscarriage and sudden paralysis. If she’s right, this could be much more terrifying than we thought.

The actress traveled to the Dominican Republic nine years ago to enjoy a sunny vacation. Stewart was 16 weeks pregnant at the time of the trip and got the all clear from her doctors before she boarded the plane. Like many people, she spent her vacation in the tropical location covered in mosquito bites, but it wasn’t until she returned home to London that she really began to worry.

More: The Zika virus may be spread through sex as well as mosquitos

Stewart recalled that she felt aches all over her body, but when she noticed losing feeling in her legs, she rushed to the hospital to find out what was wrong. That’s when she got her diagnosis. A specialist in Scotland finally figured out she had Guillain-Barré syndrome. Stewart told The Mirror, "I was in hospital for 10 months. I dropped down from [126 pounds] to [70 pounds] because I wasn't able to get out of the bed. I was completely paralyzed from the waist down.”

More: First European case of mosquito-borne Zika virus reported

If the possibility of birth defects wasn’t enough, the fear of instant paralysis makes this entire Zika virus truly terrifying.

Stewart is using her star power to warn other women who are pregnant or are thinking of traveling to countries that may put them at risk of contracting Zika to think twice. The trauma of her diagnosis continues to affect her, even nine years later.

More: Everything we know about the Zika virus and preventing it

We can certainly appreciate her sending her warning about this very real concern and wish nothing but the best for her and her family.