HealthDay News — Within a series of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) patients, 22% had confirmed or probable SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to a study published online September 23 in Brain.
Linda W. G. Luijten, from Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a prospective observational cohort study enrolling patients with GBS within 2 weeks from onset of weakness in an international study. Data from patients enrolled between January 30, 2020, and May 30, 2020, were used to examine clinical and laboratory signs of a preceding or concurrent SARS-CoV-2 infection and to describe the associated clinical phenotype and disease course.
The researchers included 49 patients with GBS, of whom 8 and 3 (16 and 6%) had a confirmed and a probable SARS-CoV-2 infection, respectively. Nine of these patients had no serological evidence of other recent preceding infections, while 2 had evidence of a recent Campylobacter jejuni infection. A sensorimotor variant was seen in 73 percent of the 11 patients, and facial palsy was seen in 64%. All eight patients who underwent electrophysiological examination had a demyelinating subtype; this was more prevalent than among other patients in the same time window (47%) and historical controls before the pandemic (52%). From onset of infection to neurological symptoms was a median of 16 days.
“Our study shows that COVID-19 may precede Guillain-Barré syndrome in rare cases,” a coauthor said in a statement, “but the existence of a true association or causal relation still needs to be established.”