Rutgers reports first instance of COVID-19 triggering recurrent Guillain-Barré Syndrome

December 08, 2020

Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have reported the first instance of COVID-19 triggering a recurrence of Guillain-Barré Syndrome - a rare disorder where the body's immune system attacks nerves and can lead to respiratory failure and death.

While there have been several reports of Guillain-Barré Syndrome following COVID-19, this is the first in which COVID-19 actually triggered a recurrence of the condition - in a 54-year-old man who had suffered with Guillain-Barré Syndrome twice and had a third occurrence after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Rutgers case report published in the journal Pathogens.

"The patient came to the emergency room with complaints of progressive difficulty swallowing, then had a fever for three days, followed by weakness in the arms, legs and face," said Erin McDonnell, a medical student who made the discovery. "His symptoms were worse this time than in previous episodes. He has since recovered."

Researchers looked at about 1,200 hospital patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who were admitted and discharged between March and May of 2020 and this was the only instance where COVID-19 triggered the recurrence of Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome can follow acute viral and bacterial infections, causing symptoms including weakness and tingling in the extremities. As the condition worsens, the weakness quickly spreads, eventually sometimes paralyzing the whole body. While most people recover from the condition, about 5 percent of people experience a recurrence, McDonnell said.

"We recommend that patients who develop COVID-19 and have a history of autoimmune [demyelinating] disorders in which the body's immune system attacks the myelin that insulates and protects their nerves be closely observed for several weeks for neurologic symptoms," said Payal Parikh, assistant professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who led the study along with Martin Blaser, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine.

The findings will improve the understanding of the spectrum of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which may be trigged by acute viral or bacterial infection, and help create treatments for COVID-19 patients.
-end-
Other Rutgers authors included Nicole J. Altomare, Yesha H. Parekh, Ram C. Gowda and Mark H. Lazar.

Rutgers University

Related Respiratory Failure Articles from Brightsurf:

Study: Respiratory failure in COVID-19 usually not driven by cytokine storm
A study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Vaping may increase respiratory disease risk by more than 40%: BU study
A growing body of evidence points to the health risks of using e-cigarettes (or ''vaping'').

Can scientists take the STING out of common respiratory viruses?
University of North Carolina School of Medicine scientists have made a curious discovery about a well-known human protein that helps the immune system fight viral infections.

Vaccines against respiratory infections linked with less heart failure deaths
Influenza and pneumonia vaccinations are associated with fewer hospital deaths in patients with heart failure.

Airborne viruses can spread on dust, non-respiratory particles
Influenza viruses can spread through the air on dust, fibers and other microscopic particles, according to new research from UC Davis and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt.

Emergency visits for thunderstorm-related respiratory illnesses
Researchers used atmospheric and lightning data for all counties in the continental United States from 1999 through 2012 to see if increases in emergency department visits for respiratory illnesses among older adults happen in the days surrounding thunderstorms because vulnerable groups and those with common chronic respiratory diseases may be susceptible to the atmospheric changes caused by these storms.

Cystic fibrosis: why so many respiratory complications?
Cystic fibrosis, one of the most common genetic diseases in Switzerland, causes severe respiratory and digestive disorders.

New article clarifies details of COVID-19 respiratory transmission
In a new article, scientists provide an exhaustive, evidence-based review of how COVID-19 droplets from infected patients spread through the air and describe how health care professionals can protect themselves.

Prone positioning in awake, nonintubated patients with COVID-19 hypoxemic respiratory failure
Whether the prone position is associated with improved oxygenation and decreased risk for intubation in spontaneously breathing patients with severe COVID-19 hypoxemic respiratory failure is investigated in this observational study.

How SARS-CoV-2 gets into respiratory tissue -- and how it may exploit one of our defenses
What makes SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, such a threat?

Read More: Respiratory Failure News and Respiratory Failure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.