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Peru declared National Emergency due to spike in Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases

Peru declared a state of National emergency amid a surge in patient suffering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) which is a neurological condition characterized by an uncommon immune system mistakenly attack on nervous system.

What in News?

  • Peruvian authorities declared a 90-day nation-wide sanitary emergency in response to the unusual increase in Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases.
  • The emergency measures are also taken by the government which encompasses the procurement of intravenous immunoglobulin and human albumin as well as the implementation of specialized diagnostics for identifying the biological agents associated with the syndrome.
  • Arrangements are also being made for air-assisted transportation of patients in critical or emergency conditions.
  • According to the official document, at least 18 of the country’s, 24 departments and one constitutional province have reported at least one case of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

What is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

  • According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by an uncommon immune system response that mistakenly attacks on nervous system.
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome can manifest in various degrees of severity, ranging from mild cases with brief episodes of weakness to more severe instances of paralysis.
  • In GBS, symptoms may progress gradually over a span of hours, days, or weeks eventually rendering certain muscles non-functional.

What can cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome:

  • GBS is usually triggered by a viral or bacterial infection. Rarely, viral or bacterial components look similar to body’s protein. When this happens, immune system become confused and starts to attack the body. When the nerves are attacked by immune system this results in GBS.

Symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome:

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
  • Back pain.
  • Muscle weakness (usually starts in the feet and moves upward.)
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Swallowing
  • Heart rate and blood pressure problems.

Treatment of Guillain-Barre Syndrome:

Guillain-Barre Syndrome does not have a cure but there are two treatments which can reduce the severity of GBS i.e. Plasma Exchange and Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy.

  • Plasma Exchange involves extracting a portion of blood using a catheter and returning it after removing the plasma.
  • Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy involves injecting immunoglobulin which are naturally produced protein by immune system to combat infecting organisms.
  • In addition to these treatments, special cure in addressing the various complications during paralysis is necessary.
  • Even after the full recovery with GBS, some patients may experience lingering weakness or long-term complications.

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