Some COVID-19 patients stricken by Guillain-Barre syndrome

by E.j. Mundell, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—Studies are beginning to show that, in rare cases, people with severe COVID-19 may develop the serious nervous system disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

“Guillain-Barre syndrome is a well-known condition in which one’s immune system targets  as foreign and attacks them, resulting in the cardinal features of the disease,” explained Dr. Anthony Geraci, who directs neuromuscular medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y.

The symptoms of the disorder “include weakness, areflexia [absence of reflexes], paresthesia [tingling], and in some cases facial weakness and ataxia [poor balance],” Geraci said.

It’s not uncommon for severe cases of infectious disease to trigger Guillain-Barre, experts noted. According to the Italian authors of a new study, the syndrome has also been seen in patients battling Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus and, most notably, infection with mosquito-borne Zika.

The new study was authored by a team of doctors battling a major outbreak of COVID-19 in the northern Italian city of Pavia.

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