The Peruvian government has declared a national health emergency in response to an unexpected surge in cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome. The declaration, which will last for 90 days, was prompted by the reporting of 165 cases and four deaths due to this rare disorder.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. This unusual increase in cases has put a strain on the country’s health services, as they struggle to cope with the volume and complexity of the cases. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the disease has been reported in at least 18 of the country’s 24 departments this year.
In response to this crisis, the government has published a decree in the official gazette El Peruano, outlining an action plan to tackle the outbreak. The plan, backed by a budget of 12.12 million soles (US$3.3 million), aims to enhance patient care in health facilities, strengthen case control, and prepare informative material for the public and health personnel.
Key measures include the procurement of intravenous immunoglobulin and human albumin, both crucial for treating the syndrome. Additionally, the plan includes specialized diagnosis of the biological agents associated with the syndrome and provision for assisted air transport for patients in emergency or critical condition.
Health Minister Cesar Vasquez had earlier requested the emergency declaration before the Council of Ministers, expressing concern over the potential shortage of immunoglobulin if the number of cases continues to rise.
This health emergency underscores the need for strategic resources to respond effectively to such outbreaks. It also highlights the importance of preparedness and swift action in managing rare diseases that can potentially disrupt the continuity of health services.