Guillain-Barre syndrome associated with preceding hepatitis E virus infection

Bianca van den Berg, Annemiek Baltissen - van der Eijk, Suzan Pas, JG Hunter, RG Madden, Anne Gillen, HR Dalton, B.C. Jacobs

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Objective:The aim of the study was to determine whether Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is associated with preceding hepatitis E virus infection.Methods:The frequency of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections was determined by anti-HEV serology in a cohort of 201 patients with GBS and 201 healthy controls with a similar distribution in age, sex, and year of sampling. Blood samples from patients with GBS were obtained in the acute phase before treatment. In a subgroup of patients with GBS, blood, stool, and CSF samples were tested for HEV RNA.Results:An increased ratio of anti-HEV immunoglobulin (Ig) M antibodies was found in 10 patients with GBS (5.0%) compared with 1 healthy control (0.5%, odds ratio 10.5, 95% confidence interval 1.3-82.6, p = 0.026). HEV RNA was detected in blood from 3 of these patients and additionally in feces from 1 patient. Seventy percent of anti-HEV IgM-positive patients had mildly increased liver function tests. All CSF samples tested negative for HEV RNA. The presence of anti-HEV IgM in patients with GBS was not related to age, sex, disease severity, or clinical outcome after 6 months.Conclusions:In the Netherlands, 5% of patients with GBS have an associated acute HEV infection. Further research is required to determine whether HEV infections also precede GBS in other geographical areas.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)491-497
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research programs

  • EMC MM-02-72-02
  • EMC MM-04-27-01
  • EMC MM-04-44-02

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