Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an uncommon sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness, and sometimes, paralysis.
Several countries that have experienced Zika outbreaks recently have reported increases in people who have Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).
Current CDC research suggests that GBS is strongly associated with Zika; however, only a small proportion of people with recent Zika virus infection get GBS.
CDC is continuing to investigate the link between GBS and Zika to learn more.
GBS symptoms include weakness of the arms and legs and, in severe cases, can affect the muscles that control breathing.
These symptoms can last a few weeks or several months. Most people fully recover from GBS, though some people have permanent damage. Very few people die from GBS.
GBS is rare
An estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people, or 1-2 cases for every 100,000 people, develop GBS each year in the US. Most cases of GBS tend to occur for no known reason, and true “clusters” of cases of GBS are very unusual.