Attacks nervous system
GUILLAIN-Barre syndrome (GBS) is an acute disease of the peripheral nervous system.
The nerves in the arms and legs become inflamed and stop working.
This causes sudden weakness leading to limb paralysis and a loss of sensation, sometimes with pain.
Anyone can get GBS.
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It affects about 1,200 people annually in the UK. No one knows exactly what causes GBS, but 60 per cent of people diagnosed with it have had a virus or infection beforehand – in Alistair's case he had flu.
These infections trigger an incorrect response in the immune system, which attacks the nerves.
There is no specific treatment for GBS, as the condition improves spontaneously.
However, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy are said to assist recovery.
The GBS Support Group was founded in 1985 to help those affected with the illness.
Visit www.gbs.org.uk for details.