Dr Ashish Kumar. Peru has implemented a health emergency across the country due to Guillain-Barré Syndrome. A similar emergency was imposed in 2019 as well. GBS is a serious rare neurological and autoimmune disorder. “Government declares health emergency due to abnormal increase in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome,” the ministry said in a Facebook post.
Peru’s Ministry of Health has declared a 90-day health emergency on Sunday over Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). The state of emergency was imposed after four deaths and more than 180 cases from GBS. Cases have increased in recent weeks, forcing Peru to take emergency action. This state of emergency is in force in all 25 regions of Peru.
What is Guillain-Barré syndrome? (What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?)
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a neurological disorder and an autoimmune disease. Like other autoimmune diseases, when a patient has GBS, their immune system starts attacking the body’s healthy cells. GBS is a rare but serious autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the peripheral nervous system. Peripheral nervous system, which is the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord.
When a person has GBS, the myelin sheath of the peripheral nerves is affected. This damage prevents nerves from sending certain information, such as tactile sensations, to the spinal cord and brain. This gives a feeling of numbness. In addition, the brain and spinal cord can no longer transmit signals back to the body, which can lead to muscle weakness. However GBS is not contagious and cannot spread from person to person.
Symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome
The early symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) are usually tingling and weakness in the feet and hands, and pain in the legs or back. Symptoms usually begin three weeks after infection.
- weakness on both sides of the body
- breathing problem
- muscle weakness in the arms
- full body paralysis
- muscle weakness and tingling
- vision problems
- due to weakness in the muscles of the eyes
- severe pain, especially at night
- problems with coordination
- changes in heart rate or blood pressure
- problems with digestion and bladder
Causes of Guillain-Barré syndrome
The cause of GBS is now known, but it has been found that the disease often occurs after infection.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two out of three people affected by GBS had diarrhea or a respiratory illness several weeks before symptoms of GBS appeared. These symptoms also link GBS to viral infections such as the flu or cytomegalovirus, Epstein Barr virus, Zika virus, or other viruses. According to scientists, cases of GBS have been observed even with vaccination, but it is rare.
Very rarely, people have developed GBS within days or weeks after receiving certain vaccines. However, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks. Studies have shown that people who get vaccinated against the flu are more likely to get GBS after getting the flu. Infection with Campylobacter jejuni, which causes diarrhea, is the most common form of GBS.
About one in every 1,000 people with Campylobacter infection in the United States gets GBS. In the United States, one out of every 20 people with GBS and eight out of every 20 people have had a recent Campylobacter infection.
Diagnosing Guillain-Barre Syndrome
The diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome is difficult, especially in the early stages, because the symptoms overlap with those of other neurological conditions. Doctors consider how long the symptoms last and how fast they spread.
The following tests are done to check for GBS-
- nerve conduction test, which can show whether nerve signals are slow
- electromyography, which tests nerve function within muscle fibers
- cerebrospinal fluid test
Treatment of Guillain-Barré syndrome
Most people are treated in hospital and usually need to stay there for a few weeks to a few months. The two main treatment options for GBS are immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG) and plasma exchange. A person with GBS is given blood containing healthy antibodies. This is an intravenous treatment and is the most common way to treat GBS. In plasma exchange, a person’s blood is taken and harmful anti-bodies are filtered out in a machine. The treated blood is then given to the person.