In response to a significant increase in cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a neurological condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the nervous system, Peru has declared a state of national emergency. This measure aims to address the growing number of patients affected by the syndrome and provide the necessary support and resources to combat its impact. Guillain-Barre Syndrome can cause weakness, paralysis, and other complications, and the national emergency declaration reflects the seriousness with which Peru is addressing the situation and working to ensure the well-being of its citizens.
More About the News
- In order to address the alarming rise in cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), Peruvian authorities have declared a 90-day national sanitary emergency.
- This measure allows the government to take decisive actions to combat the syndrome and provide necessary medical resources.
- The emergency plan includes the acquisition of intravenous immunoglobulin and human albumin for treatment, as well as the implementation of specialized diagnostics to identify the biological agents associated with GBS.
- Additionally, arrangements are being made to ensure swift transportation, including air assistance, for patients in critical or emergency conditions.
- The declaration reflects the widespread occurrence of GBS, with reports of cases in at least 18 of the country’s 24 departments and one constitutional province.
- The government is committed to addressing the situation and taking appropriate measures to protect public health.
What is Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nerves, which are responsible for transmitting motor and sensory signals between the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) and the rest of the body. The disease has been associated with various factors, including gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, as well as certain viral infections and vaccinations.
The peripheral nerves are covered by a protective layer called the myelin sheath, which is composed of Schwann cells. These cells play a crucial role in facilitating the conduction of nerve signals.
In GBS, the immune system targets and damages the Schwann cells, leading to the demyelination of the peripheral nerves. This disrupts the normal transmission of signals, resulting in weakness, tingling sensations, changes in sensory perception, and, in severe cases, paralysis.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom of GBS is weakness in the legs, which can then spread to the arms, trunk, and face. Other symptoms of GBS can include:
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Difficulty walking
- Double vision
- Difficulty speaking
- Breathing problems
The cause of GBS is not fully understood, but it is thought to often occur shortly after infection. Most commonly, the infections are gastrointestinal or respiratory illnesses such as Campylobacter jejuni gastrointestinal infection, Epstein-Barr virus or influenza. There have also been many cases linked to the Zika virus.
Furthermore, infections are not the only causes for Guillain-Barré as cases have also been linked to certain medications, like the flu vaccination and after surgical procedures. There are even cases of Guillain-Barré being related to vaccinations such as the H1N1 vaccination.
In Canada, an estimated 1-2.3 per 100,000 people are affected by GBS yearly. Guillain-Barré can affect anyone at any age but there is an increase in risk with age. Cases are estimated to be 1.0-1.5 per 100,000 in individuals 15 years of age or younger. Those figures rise to 8.6 cases per 100,000 in individuals 70-79 years of age. Also, cases are more prevalent in males with 1.5 males diagnosed for every female.
There is no cure for GBS, but there are treatments that can help. The most common treatments for GBS are plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). Plasmapheresis is a procedure that removes the antibodies that are thought to be causing damage to the nerves. IVIg is a blood product that contains antibodies that can help to protect the nerves.
With treatment, most people with GBS make a full recovery. However, some people may have long-term effects, such as muscle weakness or fatigue.
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