Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a neurological disorder that happens when the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system. GBS symptoms range from mild weakness in your arms and legs to full paralysis.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome can be a life-altering injury. Although most people recover, others will have residual symptoms for the rest of their life.

GBS is an auto-immune disease, which occurs when your immune system attacks on healthy nerves that are mistaken for viruses or bacteria. The exact cause of GBS is unknown.

However, in rare cases, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is triggered by vaccines, particularly the seasonal flu vaccine.

The link between flu shots and Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Right now, the only vaccine associated with Guillain-Barre Syndrome is the seasonal influenza shot. Who has recognized this association?

In the United States, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program offers compensation to people injured by vaccines listed on the Vaccine Injury Table.

According to the Vaccine Injury Table, if you receive a seasonal flu vaccine and experience the onset of GBS symptoms between three (3) and forty-two (42) days later, you will have met the criteria set forth in the Table.

According to the Vaccine Injury Table, all types of GBS have the interval between the onset of symptoms and the critical point of weakness happens between twelve (12) hours and twenty-eight (28) days. Once reaching the clinical nadir, people with GBS will typically plateau and subsequently see some improvement.

What are the Symptoms of GBS?

GBS symptoms usually begin with some numbness and/or tingling sensations in the feet or hands. These symptoms are followed by bilateral weakness in the arms and legs.

As Guillain-Barre Syndrome progresses, you will have difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Other GBS symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Difficulty with vision, pain, balance or coordination issues
  • Problems with digestion or incontinence

By week three of the syndrome, most patients are at their worst. In rare occasions, a patient may lose all function of their muscles, becoming totally paralyzed. In those situations, the Guillain-Barre Syndrome is life-threatening.

What types of treatment are available for Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

There are two common ways to treat GBS that have been shown to reduce symptoms:

Plasma exchange. During plasma exchange, blood cells are extracted from the patient and then returned once the plasma has been removed, along with bad antibodies that have been damaging the nerves.

Immunoglobulin therapy (IVIg). In IVIg therapy, immunoglobulin proteins are injected into the patient. These proteins help attack the infection.

Once the patient starts to recover, they will be transferred to a rehabilitation unit. There, they start physical therapy, occupational therapy, and sometimes speech therapy.

The road back to normal is often a long and difficult one. Over months and years, the patient regains his or her strength and independence, adapting to his or her new reality. In some cases, recovering from GBS can take years.

IS GBS a Permanent Condition?

While most patients will recover from GBS, others suffer from long-term side effects, including weakness, fatigue, and pain. As a result, they may use assistive devices to walk.

Others require the assistance of therapists or family members to perform activities of daily living. For many people, GBS can have a severe mental and emotional toll as well.

Diagnosed with GBS after a vaccination? Contact our vaccine injury lawyers today

If you believe you have suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome from a vaccine, you may be entitled to compensation from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

Call us today at (312) 578-9501 to speak with one of our vaccine injury lawyers today. You can also message us here. Our consultations are always free. We’re just a call or contact form away.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Recent Blog Posts

HHS Removing SIRVA from Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

UPDATE: HHS Advances to Remove SIRVA from Vaccine Injury Table

In April, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) began the process of removing a type of reaction called Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Since then, the Advisory Committee on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV), which makes recommendations on proposed rulemaking to HHS on issues related to the…
COVID-19 Vaccine

Update: U.S. to begin 30,000-person study for potential COVID-19 vaccine

Last month, we discussed an update on the progress made towards a COVID-19 vaccine. At that time, human trials were still on the horizon. Since then, we’ve had more good news. The National Institutes of Health and Moderna, Inc. will begin human trials of its vaccine on July 27th. So far, 30,000 individuals have volunteered…
Woman researching VAERS

What is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)?

In 1990, the Department of Health and Human Services developed the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in order to detect and track potentially unsafe vaccines administered in the United States. VAERS is run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Why was VAERS created?…