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Peru’s Guillain-Barre Syndrome Outbreak Reaches 237 Cases

Peru’s Health Emergency Due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome Outbreak Continues in July 2023

Peru’s health authorities recently reaffirmed the ongoing Health Emergency regarding the number of Guillan-Barre Syndrome (GBS) patients.

As of July 20, 2023, media sources reported the Republic of Peru’s national health emergency remains active, with 237 GBS cases reported. Weekly, an average of 25 GBS cases are being reported.

Lima remains the outbreak epicenter, with 25% of GBS cases confirmed.

The outbreak peaked during the week of June 26, when 191 GBS cases were reported.

Health officials issued a national health emergency on June 26, 2023, due to the unusual increase in GBS cases in various Peru regions.

Peruvian health officials recently stated that cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome occur every year. Health officials reported 225 cases in 2022, 210 in 2020, and 448 in 2020.

Since 2016, hospitals in Peru have reported suspected GBS cases to a passive surveillance system.

Previously, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Research Letter: Large Outbreak of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, Peru, 2019. The CDC confirmed in November 2020 GBS outbreaks are uncommon.

The CDC stated GBS is the most common form of acute flaccid paralysis, a polio-like disease. Motor weakness, areflexia, sensory abnormalities, and cytoalbuminologic dissociation in cerebrospinal fluid characterize GBS.

In May 2019, national surveillance in Peru detected increased GBS cases over the expected incidence of 1.2 cases/100,000 population. Several clinical and epidemiologic findings call into question the suggested association between this GBS outbreak and Campylobacter.

Campylobacter jejuni infection is the most frequently identified precipitant of GBS and usually is associated with the acute motor axonal neuropathy form of GBS.

People can also develop GBS after the flu or other infections such as cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus. 

Each year in the United States, the CDC estimates 3,000 to 6,000 people develop GBS. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent nerve damage.

While there are no approved GBS vaccines as of July 23, 2023, the CDC monitors potential relationships with other vaccines.

Source : Vax Before Travel