Epidemiology Week 2, 2016

Guillain-Barre Syndrome Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. It often follows infection with a virus or bacteria. Most people recover fully from GBS, but some people have permanent nerve damage.

GBS is rare. Anyone can develop GBS; however, it is more common among older adults. The rate of GBS increases with age, and people older than 50 years are at greatest risk for developing GBS. GBS may have several causes.

While it is not known what causes all cases of GBS, it is known that about two-thirds of people who get GBS do so several days or weeks after they have been sick with diarrhea or a lung or sinus illness. Infection with the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most common risk factors for GBS. People also can develop GBS after having the flu or other infections such as cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr virus. On very rare occasions, people develop GBS in the days or weeks after getting a vaccination.

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