Guillain-Barré syndrome after a jellyfish sting

J Clin Neuromuscul Dis. 2011 Jun;12(4):227-30. doi: 10.1097/CND.0b013e3181e1f046.


This is the case of a jellyfish sting associated with the rare development of Guillain-Barré syndrome. The patient, a 66-year-old woman, was stung by a jellyfish on the right thigh while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, off Charleston, SC. Ten days later, she developed low back and right thigh pain followed by progressive numbness and weakness in all extremities. These symptoms reached their peak in 30 days and slowly began to improve. Initial neurologic examination showed areflexia, weakness, absent vibration and position sense, and hyperesthesia to pin and light touch in the mid to distal region of all four extremities. Serial electromyography and nerve conductions were consistent with an improving predominantly demyelinating polyneuropathy. Spinal fluid analysis showed no cells, elevated protein (108), gammaglobulin 6 (normal less than 5.4), and immunoglobulin G 8.2 (normal less than 6). The only treatment was gabapentin for neuropathy pain. The patient made an excellent recovery in less than 1 year with minimal residual numbness in both thumbs, index fingers, and middle toes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bites and Stings / complications*
  • Cnidarian Venoms / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / etiology*
  • Humans


  • Cnidarian Venoms