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Guillain Barre Syndrome

  • 19 Nov 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Some patients infected with Covid-19 have been found suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS).

Key Points

  • Guillain Barre Syndrome:
    • It is a very rare autoimmune disorder in which the patient's immune system attacks nerves.
    • The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, but as per the World Health Organisation (WHO), GBS is often preceded by an infection. This could be a bacterial or viral infection. It may also be triggered by vaccine administration or surgery.
    • In the past, patients of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Zika virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Herpes virus and Campylobacter jejuni have shown symptoms of GBS.
    • Link with Covid-19:
      • The immune system, in an attempt to kill the coronavirus, accidentally starts attacking its own peripheral nervous system.
      • The peripheral nervous system is a network of nerves that lead from the brain and spinal cord (i.e. central nervous system) to different parts of the body. Attacking them can affect limb functions.
      • An interval of 5-10 days is noticed between onset of GBS symptoms and Covid-19 infection, but some doctors say it can also take weeks after Covid-19 infection for a person to develop GBS.
  • Symptoms:
    • Weakness or tingling sensations, which usually start in the legs, and can spread to the arms and face.
    • Difficulty with facial movements, including speaking, chewing or swallowing.
    • Double vision, rapid heart rate, low or high blood pressure.
  • Complication:
    • There could be respiratory failure as the worst outcome, or weakness and effect on walking and limb movement.
  • Treatment:
    • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).
    • Plasma therapy.

Campylobacter jejuni

  • Campylobacteriosis is an infection by the Campylobacter bacteria. It is more commonly known as C. jejuni. It is among the most common bacterial infections of humans, often a foodborne illness. It produces bloody diarrhea or dysentery syndrome, mostly including cramps, fever and pain.

Herpes Virus

  • Herpes results from infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It causes sores or blisters to form in or around the mouth or genitals, as well as other symptoms such as fever and fatigue.


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