Guillain-Barré Syndrome


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    Recently, the US regulators have added that Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine may be associated with a small increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome.


    • Recently, one hundred reports of the syndrome after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson shot have been submitted to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
    • The syndrome was generally reported about two weeks after vaccination, primarily in men, many of whom were 50 or older.
    • Earlier, it was known to have a correlation 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.

    Guillain-Barré Syndrome

    • About
      • Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) a very rare autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the nerves of the patient.
      • GBS is neither contagious nor hereditary. It is most common in adults over 50. 
    • Cause: 
      • According to the CDC, the causes of GBS are not yet fully known but in most cases, GBS is preceded by an infection. This could be a bacterial or viral infection. 
      • GBS may also be triggered by vaccine administration or surgery.
    • Symptoms:
      • The syndrome can affect the peripheral nerves that control muscle strength as well as those transmitting feelings of pain, temperature, and touch, which can result in muscle weakness and loss of sensation in the legs and/or arms.
      • In the past, patients of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome showed GBS symptoms, as did those infected with Zika, HIV, Herpes virus and Campylobacter Jejuni.
    • Treatment:
      • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and Plasma Therapy.
    • Types: 
      • Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP): It is the most common form in North America and Europe.
        • The most common sign of AIDP is muscle weakness that starts in the lower part of your body and spreads upward.
      • Miller Fisher syndrome (MFS): It is a type in which paralysis starts in the eyes.
        • MFS is also associated with unsteady gait and is less common in the U.S. but more common in Asia.

    Image Courtesy: Mayoclinic

    Herpes virus and Campylobacter Jejuni

    • Herpes virus: HSV-1 is a highly contagious infection that is common and endemic throughout the world. It causes sores or blisters to form in or around the mouth or genitals, as well as other symptoms such as fever and fatigue.
    • Campylobacter Jejuni: It is the most commonly reported bacterial cause of foodborne infection. It produces bloody diarrhea or dysentery syndrome, mostly including cramps, fever and pain.
    • Zika Virus: Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes. Zika can be passed through sex from a person with Zika to his or her partners. 
      • People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
      • There is scientific consensus that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. 

    Source: IE