Infectious Diseases

Cluster of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in Duleek, Ireland

The Irish Mirror reports a cluster of Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases in the small town of Duleek, County Meath, in Ireland. Six cases of GBS have been reported from this town (it is not clear how much time has been considered for those cases in the linked report) of about 6,000 people, which is many times higher than the expected prevalence of 1 case per 100,000 people.

GBS is a nervous system disease in which the body’s immunity turns on itself, and specifically, attacks the peripheral nervous system. Classically, it starts with weakness and paresis which starts from the lower limbs and moves up (hence giving it the name ascending paralysis). In the classically defined entity, there is no sensory loss despite extensive motor impairment. If the ascending paralysis hits the diaphragm, it may lead to a serious complication requiring the patient being put on artificial respiratory support through mechanical ventilation.

The onset of GBS is usually observed in the setting of a resolved or resolving infectious episode, usually a viral infectious or a bacterial infection like Campylobacteriosis.

Skeptic Oslerphile. PhD Student in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Past: 1) Public Health Scientist and Program Manager, Translational Global Health Policy Research Cell, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. 2) Scientist, Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases; 3) Senior Research Associate, Public Health Foundation of India. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!

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