Explained: Peru declares health emergency after rise in Guillain-Barré Syndrome cases; here are the signs of this neurological disorder

Cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome are increasing in Peru​

Guillain-Barré Syndrome
3D medical background with abstract virus cells

On July 8, the Peruvian government declared a national health emergency due to an increase in occurrences of the rare neurological condition Guillain-Barré Syndrome. As authorities deal with a “unusual increase” in instances, the emergency will last for 90 days. According to the news outlet MercoPress, 182 instances have been reported throughout all of Peru since June 2023, of whom 147 have been treated and released from the hospital, 31 are still there, and four have passed away.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome: What Is It?​

Guillain-Barré Syndrome

A rare condition called Guillain-Barré Syndrome causes the body’s nerves to be attacked by the immune system. It is a dangerous condition that necessitates prompt hospitalisation because the patient’s condition could quickly go worse.

Why did cases suddenly increase?​

Guillain-Barré Syndrome

 

César Vásquez, Peru’s minister of health, made the call for the health emergency after seeing that a rise in instances would indicate “a lack of immunoglobulin” (antibodies). Currently, it is unknown what causes Guillain-Barre syndrome specifically. However, two-thirds of those who have this illness claim to have experienced infection-related symptoms in the six weeks prior. COVID-19, a lung infection, a gastrointestinal infection, or the Zika virus are examples of these bacterial or viral infections.

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Peru’s efforts to deal with the condition​

Guillain-Barré Syndrome
Doctor and patient.

According to the executive order issued by Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, around US$ 3.27 million would be used to enhance patient care, tighten oversight of the number of detections, and create reports for the general public and medical professionals. In general, Guillain-Barre syndrome has no known treatment. Treatment can still lessen the severity and length of the illness while treating the symptoms.

Symptoms that indicate the illness may exist​

Guillain-Barré Syndrome

The initial signs of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, according to medical professionals, are muscle weakness and tingling in your hands and feet. Because of the damage brought on by this disorder, the nerves are unable to communicate some information, such touch sensations, to the spinal cord and brain. This might make you feel numb. Muscle weakness can result from a loss of signal transmission between the brain and spinal cord. Other symptoms include breathing difficulties, a quick heartbeat, low or high blood pressure, and difficulty chewing or swallowing. People may even pass away in severe situations or become paralysed.

How long does it take to recover?​

Guillain-Barré Syndrome
People wearing protective masks are showing stop sign by hands.

According to medical professionals, most patients begin to recover in two to three weeks. Full recovery, however, could take a few years for some people. While some patients may experience total recovery from the illness, others may sustain lasting nerve damage.

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