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Declining Guillain-Barre Syndrome after Campylobacteriosis Control, New Zealand, 1988-2010

Abstract

Infection with Campylobacter spp. commonly precedes Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). We therefore hypothesized that GBS incidence may have followed a marked rise and then decline in campylobacteriosis rates in New Zealand. We reviewed records for 1988–2010: hospitalization records for GBS case-patients and campylobacteriosis case-patients plus notifications of campylobacteriosis. We identified 2,056 first hospitalizations for GBS, an average rate of 2.32 hospitalizations/100,000 population/year. Annual rates of hospitalization for GBS were significantly correlated with rates of notifications of campylobacteriosis. For patients hospitalized for campylobacteriosis, risk of being hospitalized for GBS during the next month was greatly increased. Three years after successful interventions to lower Campylobacter spp. contamination of fresh poultry meat, notifications of campylobacteriosis had declined by 52% and hospitalizations for GBS by 13%. Therefore, regulatory measures to prevent foodborne campylobacteriosis probably have an additional health and economic benefit of preventing GBS.

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