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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Guillain-Barre syndrome


Other Names for this Disease
  • Acute autoimmune peripheral neuropathy
  • GBS
  • Acute immune-mediated polyneuropathy
  • Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy
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Your Question

My mother was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome after having a flu shot in 2001.  Does this make me more at risk of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome if I have a flu shot?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Do people with a family history of Guillain-Barre syndrome have an increased risk of developing this condition?

Almost all cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome are sporadic, which means they occur in people with no history of the condition in their family. A few families with more than one affected family member have been described; however, the condition does not have a clear pattern of inheritance. Some studies show that normal variations in certain genes may be associated with an increased risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome; however, more research is necessary to identify and confirm associated genes.[1][2]

Most people who develop Guillain-Barré syndrome have a bacterial or viral infection prior to developing the signs and symptoms of the condition. However, only a very small percentage of people who have an infection develop Guillain-Barré syndrome. Many of the genes that may increase the risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome are involved in the immune system, and their roles in fighting infection may contribute to the development of the condition. Therefore, it might be concluded that multiple genetic and environmental factors likely play a part in determining the risk of developing this condition. As a result, inheriting a genetic variation linked with Guillain-Barré syndrome does not mean that a person will develop the condition.[1][2]
Last updated: 1/16/2016

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Acute autoimmune peripheral neuropathy
  • GBS
  • Acute immune-mediated polyneuropathy
  • Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.