Infection with the virus that causes Covid-19 may be associated with risk of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder in which a person’s immune system attacks the nerves, causing muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis, according to a study published on Thursday.
Besides the well-known severe respiratory signs, and the risk of long-term complications in COVID-19, researchers and public health officials have also reported neurological complications linked with the disease.
Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder which can last for weeks or several years, is relatively rare but can be severe. The condition is triggered by an acute bacterial or viral infection.
“Our study shows that COVID-19 may precede Guillain-Barre syndrome in rare cases,” said Bart C Jacobs from the University Medical Center Rotterdam in The Netherlands.
“But the existence of a true association or causal relation still needs to be established,” said Jacobs, one of the paper’s authors.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, doctors have reported over 90 Guillain-Barre diagnoses following a possible COVID-19 infection. However, whether COVID-19 is another potential infectious trigger or whether the reported cases are coincidental is unclear, the researchers said.