Context: In a rare complication, some patients infected with Covid-19 have been found suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS).
Guillain Barre Syndrome
- It is a very rare autoimmune disorder in which the immune system, in an attempt to kill the coronavirus, accidentally starts attacking the peripheral nervous system.
- The peripheral nervous system is a network of nerves that lead from the brain and spinal cord to different parts of the body. Attacking them can affect limb functions.
- An overactive immune system can attack healthy nerves along with attacking the virus.
- Causes: GBS is caused by bacteria or viral infections like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Zika, HIV, Herpes virus and Campylobacter jejuni.
- Symptoms: Itching sensation in the skin, muscle weakness, pain and numbness in feet and hands. Reflex loss and paralysis can last for 6-12 months or longer.
- GBS can leave behind permanent neurological damage.
- Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and plasma therapy helps recovery in patients with GBS.
Guillain Barre Syndrome and Covid-19
- Covid-19 is known to affect digestive, cardiac and kidney functions.
- The virus can cause memory fog, anxiety, headache and depression if it attacks parts of the brain which form the central nervous system.