Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Outbreak of Guillain-Barré syndrome associated with water pollution.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 25 March 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:751
  1. N A Sliman


    Sixteen cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome occurred in the third week of a diarrhoea epidemic caused by water pollution in EL-Sult, Jordan. Of 30 000 people exposed to polluted water, 5000 developed diarrhoea, 74 typhoid, and 30 infectious hepatitis. Thirteen of the 16 patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome had been mildly affected by diarrhoea 8-24 days before the onset of peripheral neuropathy. Paralysis progressed rapidly, reaching a peak in one to five days, and recovery began three to seven days after the start of the most severe symptoms. All but four patients had recovered completely after one year. Rapid progress of paralysis and a delayed interval between maximum weakness and start of recovery were both associated with poor prognosis.