Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome, a "so-called" auto-immune disease may be caused by infection with an intestinal bacterium called campylobacter jejuni.

A previously healthy person suddenly develops tingling and numbness primarily in the feet which within a couple of weeks spreads through the body to cause loss of muscle control and feeling throughout the body. Around 5 percent can lose control of their breathing muscles and require machines to keep them breathing. 70 percent recover completely, even though it may take a few months to a couple of years. However, around 30 percent will suffer permanent nerve damage.

More than 70 percent of those who suffer Guillain-Barre disease are infected with an intestinal bacteria called Campylobacter and many others are infected with another bacteria called mycoplasma or a virus called cytomegalovirus. There is no consistently effective treatment, but there is some evidence that some people are helped by taking blood fluid from many people called immunoglobulin that contain antibodies that kill bacteria and viruses. However, recent research from medical centers throughout the world warrant trials of antibiotics such as the longer-acting erythromycins and amoxacillins for several months. See report #G144.

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8) B Niklasson, B Hornfeldt, B Lundman. Could myocarditis, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and Guillain-Barre syndrome be caused by one or more infectious agents carried by rodents? Emerging Infectious Diseases 4: 2 (APR-JUN 1998):187-193. incidence of Guillain-Barre syndrome and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, as well as the number of deaths caused by myocarditis, followed the fluctuations in numbers of bank voles.

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Checked 8/9/05

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