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. 
  • Treatment 
    • 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.

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