Epidemiology of childhood Guillain-Barré syndrome as a cause of acute flaccid paralysis in Honduras: 1989-1999

Marco R Molinero, Daniel Varon, Kenton R Holden, John T Sladky, Ida B Molina, Francisco Cleaves
Journal of Child Neurology 2003, 18 (11): 741-7
The objective of this study was to investigate the incidence of acute flaccid paralysis in the pediatric population of Honduras over an 11-year period, determine what percentage of acute flaccid paralysis was Guillain-Barré syndrome, and identify the epidemiologic features of Guillain-Barré syndrome. There were 546 childhood cases of acute flaccid paralysis seen between January 1989 and December 1999 at the Hospital Escuela Materno-Infantil in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Of these cases with acute flaccid paralysis, 394 (72.2%) were diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Our incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome in the Honduran pediatric population (1.37/100,000 per year) is higher than that shown in other studies. There was a significantly higher incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome in younger children (ages 1-4 years), a significant preponderance of cases from rural areas, and a mild predominance in boys but a typical clinical presentation. The Honduran pediatric Guillain-Barré syndrome population had an increased mortality rate. Guillain-Barré syndrome has become the leading cause of childhood paralysis in Honduras. A better understanding of the population at highest risk and opportunities for earlier intervention with more effective therapeutic modalities may permit reducing the mortality among Honduran children who develop Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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