Peru Declares State Of Emergency Due To Spike In Rare Neurological Disorder

Natasha Biase

On Saturday, authorities in Peru announced a 90-day nationwide sanitary emergency due to a disturbing nationwide increase in cases of a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).

According to ReliefWeb, a humanitarian information service provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there have been over 190 reported cases of the disorder, with the highest number of cases being in Lima, the country’s capital.

Aspects of the country’s proposed relief plan and safety measures include investing $3.27 million towards enhancing patient care, including acquiring human immunoglobulin to treat patients, intensifying surveillance, prevention, and response actions for suspected cases.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, early symptoms of GBS include weakness and tingling, often felt first in both legs moving towards the upper body. Symptoms can progress over hours, days, or weeks, with most people starting to recover a few weeks after initial attack. Although GBS can be fatal, most people typically make a full recovery.

Though the cause of the disorder is not fully understood, one of the potential risk factors listed on the CDC website is vaccination. GBS is a suspected side-effect of the COVID-19 vaccine, sparking a discussion online about whether the sudden outbreak is due to the extremely high rate of vaccination in Peru.

According to the Institute for Health Metrics, over 83% of Peruvians had been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

Rogan O’Handley, a political commentator and lawyer who goes by the Twitter handle @DC.Draino, tweeted about the nationwide lockdown in Peru, speculating the cause:

“Peru has declared a state of emergency after a shocking rise in cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome,” he wrote. “This once rare autoimmune disease attacks the nervous system leading to muscle weakness & sometimes paralysis/death … [One] can only wonder what’s causing it…”

Dr. William Makis, who is the Chief of Oncology at The Wellness Company Canada, shared O’Handley’s sentiments, explaining in a Tweet that GBS is a “neurological injury” caused by the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.

Makis referred to VigiAccess, a World Health Organization database of adverse vaccine reactions, which has catalogued a reported 7,693 cases of GBS caused by COVID-19 vaccines.

As of June 2, 2023, over 90% of the population in Peru has received its first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for a total of 89,593,907 doses administered.

Although the CDC points out that a vaccine can be a possible cause of GBS, it also notes that it is ‘very rare’ and typically develops “within days or weeks after getting a vaccination.”

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