The Outbreak of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in Peru
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is an acute and multiple neuritis. The patients suffering from this syndrome have 4have damaged motor nerves and have no strength in their hands and legs. In severe cases, they temporally need a tracheotomy or an artificial respirator due to their respiratory failure caused by the CNS disorders. In Japan, the annual incidence rate is 1-2 per 100,000 people. It generally occurs singly. However, 206 cases have been confirmed this year at Lima and the northern tourist spot in Peru, and 4 of them had died. The government in Peru has announced a state of emergency on health.
It has been reported that GBS was caused by Campylobacter, Zika virus, Mycoplasma infections, some vaccinations of influenza or rabies, systemic diseases like Hodgkin’s lymphoma and malignant tumors, and chemical agents like gangliosides and gold compounds. Over 60% of the patients were confirmed to suffer such diseases before the development of GBS. For Cytomegalovirus, EB virus, Mycoplasma, and Campylobacter infections, the cause-and-effect relation is well known. One of them, Campylobacter food poisoning, accounts for 20-30% of the infections, and 0.1% of the patients can develop GBS. Lipooligosaccharide (LOS) molecules of Campylobacter jejuni is well known to be similar with gangliosides in nervous tissue, and cross-reactive antibodies, which are considered to lead to GBS.
In Japan, Campylobacter food poisoning has the largest number of cases and patients in bacterial food poisonings. In 2015, 318 cases and 2089 patients of Campylobacter food poisoning were reported. Raw or improperly cooked chicken meat and drinking spring water induce diarrhea, abdominal pains, and a fever (38-39 degrees Celsius) two or three days later. Only some hundreds of bacteria can lead to develop the disease. Most patients can be cured within a week, however, a few of them can develop GBS. According to the report of literature survey (Food Control 20:531-537, 2009), Campylobacter contamination was detected from about 60% of retail poultry meat. Thus, we have to pay attention to knives and cutting boards used for chicken meat so as not to spread these bacteria on the other ingredients, and also be mindful of washing hands adequately after touching it.
In conclusion, it is possible that some infectious diseases have been spreading in those areas. However, there is no information about it now. Considering that many Japanese tourists visit the World Heritage Machu Picchu, thorough hygiene measures, carefully washing hands after using toilets and eating well-heated dishes are required for visitors.