According to the Yuma County Health District, as of July 2011, there have been six confirmed cases and one pending case of GBS in Yuma County. GBS or Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome is a rare disorder where the body’s immune system begins to attack its nervous system. Symptoms begin with a light tingling in the fingers and toes and then progresses to muscle weakness evolving to paralysis. Normally, there are three to four cases yearly.
The pre-cursor of GBS is campylobacter infection which has also demonstrated an increase.
According to the Yuma County Health District:
“(In June) we started noticing an increase in the campylobacter infection first,” Brooks said. “And then we started hearing about a syndrome they call acute flaccid paralysis. There had been some people who had gone to (the Yuma hospital) and had been sent to Phoenix.
“Once we started hearing those names a few times, we started checking into it. That’s when we contacted the state, and the state then contacted the CDC.”
The investigation is focused on finding if a connection exists between GBS and campylobacter and discovering the source for the increase in both conditions.
According to the CDC website, campylobacter is contracted by consuming raw or undercooked poultry meat or from cross-contamination of other foods by these products. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping and fever and last about a week.