Antecedent Infections in Guillain-Barré Syndrome: A Single-Center, Prospective Study

Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2019 Dec;6(12):2510-2517. doi: 10.1002/acn3.50946. Epub 2019 Nov 12.


Objective: To investigate the spectrum of antecedent infections in Chinese patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and analyze the infections-related clinical phenotypes locally.

Methods: A prospective case-control study of 150 patients diagnosed with GBS and age- and sex-matched neurological and healthy controls was performed to investigate recent infections of 14 pathogens serologically and collect the clinical data during a follow-up of 12 months.

Results: In total, 53% of patients with GBS had a positive serology for recent infection, including Campylobacter jejuni (27%), influenza A (17%) and B (16%), hepatitis A virus (5%), dengue virus (3%), cytomegalovirus (3%), Epstein-Barr virus (3%), Mycoplasma pneumoniae (2%), herpes simplex virus (2%), varicella-zoster virus (1%), and rubella virus (1%). Serology for infections of hepatitis E virus, Haemophilus influenzae, and Zika virus was negative. There was a higher frequency of C. jejuni, influenza A, influenza B, and hepatitis A virus infections in GBS patients than both the neurological and healthy controls. C. jejuni infection was more frequent in younger GBS patients and was associated with antibodies against GM1, GalNAc-GD1a, and GM1:galactocerebroside complex. Influenza B infection was associated with a pure motor form of GBS.

Interpretation: C. jejuni, influenza A, influenza B, and hepatitis A virus serve as the most common cause of antecedent infections in GBS locally. Influenza B-related GBS may represent a pure motor phenotype. Differences in the infectious spectrum worldwide may contribute to the geographical clinical heterogeneity of GBS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't