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Neurology. 2001 Jun 12;56(11):1467-72.

Gastroenteritis-associated Guillain-Barré syndrome on the Caribbean island Curaçao.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurology, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands. vankoningsveld@neur.azr.nl



The number of patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) who have been observed in Curaçao, the Netherlands Antilles, may be increasing.


Clinical and serologic data were obtained from records of patients admitted between 1987 and 1999 and fulfilling National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke criteria for GBS. When possible, serum and stool samples were collected. The results were compared with a large Dutch epidemiologic study.


The authors identified 49 patients, an overall crude incidence rate (IR) in Curaçao of 2.53/100,000 inhabitants (95% CI 1.87 to 3.35) (Dutch study 1.18, rate ratio (RR) of 2.14, p < 0.001). The IR in Curaçao increased from 1.62 in 1987 to 1991 to 3.10 in 1992 to 1999, RR 5.22 (95% CI 2.48 to 10.2, p = 0.02). The IR showed a curvilinear shape within a year. In comparison with the Dutch group, patients from Curaçao had a more severe course of the disease, with a mortality rate of 23% (3.4% in the Dutch group, p < 0.001), a higher percentage of preceding gastroenteritis (p < 0.001), and less sensory involvement (p < 0.001). In 8 of 10 serum samples, evidence was found for a recent infection with Campylobacter jejuni.


The authors found a steady increase in incidence of GBS over the years in association with a more pronounced seasonal preponderance and a more severe course. The clinical characteristics suggest a role for C jejuni.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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