Although its rare and its exact cause is not definitively known, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack the nervous system, which can lead to lasting nerve damage.
Because of this damage to the body’s nerve cells, symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome typically include weakness and numbness in the arms and legs that slowly spreads to other areas of the body. Symptoms as minor as tingling also can occur.
Most people who suffer from Guillain-Barre Syndrome develop it after recovering from an infection, such as the flu, bronchitis, or even food poisoning.
This connection to a prior infection is important. Indeed, vaccinations containing strains of infectious diseases, such as the flu shot, have been linked to the development of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, albeit in rare cases. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration maintain a database of reported incidences of the development of Guillain-Barre Syndrome following vaccinations.
Thankfully, Guillain-Barre Syndrome caused by the flu vaccine is one of the injuries that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program identifies as deserving of monetary compensation.