Public Health Wales has published a report in the European scientific journal Eurosurveillance which will be of interest to neurologists.
Clinicians in South Wales have worked with Public Health Wales to investigate cases of unusual forms of Guillain-Barré Syndrome in eight adults who became ill between September and December last year.
While the total number of cases of the syndrome is not unusual for the time of year, all of the adults were diagnosed with less common variants of the condition. The condition is not contagious and most people recover well, but recovery will be slow, usually over several weeks or months. There is no wider public health risk.
Guillain-Barré Syndrome is a rare condition causing inflammation of the nerves, which often follows illness with a number of different viral or bacterial infections.
Investigations by Public Health Wales have not yet discovered any links between the cases.
Dr Gwen Lowe, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, explained, ‘It is not unusual to see an increase in cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome in the winter months, but it is unusual to see cases of less common forms of the condition.
‘Our investigations to date have not found a common cause, and it is possible that there may not be a single cause that links the cases.’
The cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome have occurred against a background of circulating enterovirus in the community, which has resulted in a small number of children suffering respiratory illness and Guillain-Barré Syndrome-like symptoms.
More information on Guillain-Barré Syndrome is available at www.nhs.uk/conditions/Guillain-Barre-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx.