Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a rare but serious disorder that can have potentially life-threatening complications. What causes GBS? Can it result from a vaccination? Continue reading to learn more.

Despite first being diagnosed more than a century ago, the exact physiological cause of GBS remains unknown. Scientists know that it is not contagious, but they have yet to discover exactly why some people contract this often-dangerous disorder.

While scientists have not discovered the cause of GBS, they have learned much about its effects on the body. Physicians and researchers have also recently identified a relationship between the flu and tetanus vaccines and GBS.

GBS: What Happens to the Body

As an autoimmune disorder, GBS is a medical condition that involves the immune system attacking the body. Specifically, while the immune system is supposed to target foreign harmful antibodies, the immune system of a person with GBS attacks the peripheral nervous system. This attack could either focus on the myelin sheath that protects the nerves (demyelinating GBS) or the axons in the nerve cells themselves (axonal GBS). As a result, a number of different variants of GBS exist, with chronic and acute variants appearing in both the demyelinating and anoxal categories.

The nerve damage caused by GBS typically has a number of different effects. In most cases, the first symptoms of GBS reflect the autoimmune response’s direct effects on the nervous system—pain, tingling sensations and sensory abnormalities. However, as the damage to the peripheral nervous system progresses and disrupts communications between the brain and the body, the symptoms of GBS can worsen. In many cases, individuals diagnosed with GBS experience severe muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass (atrophy), loss of bowel and bladder control, paralysis and even respiratory dysfunction.

GBS: The Link to Flu and Tetanus Vaccines

While a long history of medical evidence indicates that a viral or bacterial infection often precedes GBS, a growing body of evidence suggests that GBS often follows certain vaccinations. Specifically, several cases show individuals diagnosed with GBS following flu and tetanus vaccine injections. While scientists do not yet know if these vaccines cause GBS, just as it is not known whether infections cause GBS, the link is strong enough that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) compensates individuals diagnosed with GBS, whose symptoms onset within 5-42 days of vaccination.  Compensation for vaccine-related GBS is obtained through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

Were You Diagnosed with GBS Following a Vaccination? Contact GBS Vaccine Lawyer

The VICP is a federal program that provides no-fault compensation to individuals diagnosed with GBS and its variants. At GBS Vaccine Lawyer, we provide no-cost or low-cost legal representation for VICP claims nationwide. To find out if you may be entitled to financial compensation for vaccine-related GBS, call us at (202) 775-9200 or inquire online to schedule a free consultation today.

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