Two weeks ago, we reported on the increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) cases in El Salvador towards the end of 2015, right about the time Zika virus had taken hold in the country.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a Disease Outbreak News with the most recent updates on the El Salvador situation:
The National IHR Focal Point of El Salvador has notified PAHO/WHO of an unusual increase of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) in the country. In El Salvador, the annual average number of GBS is 169; however, from 1 December 2015 to 6 January 2016, 46 GBS were recorded, including 2 deaths.
Of the 46 GBS cases, 25 (54%) are male and 35 (76%) are 30 years old or older. All cases were hospitalized and treated with plasma exchange or intravenous immunoglobulin. One of the two deceased patients had a history of multiple underlying chronic diseases. Out of the 22 patients whose information was available, 12 (54%) presented with febrile rash illness in the 15 days prior to the onset of symptoms consistent with GBS.
Investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of infection and acquire further details about the laboratory diagnosis. Possible associations between GBS and Zika virus infection are also being investigated. Since the confirmation of the first case of Zika virus infection in November 2015 until 31 December 2015, Salvadoran health authorities reported 3,836 suspected cases of Zika virus infection.