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health alert peru

Updated on 11 June 2019

The Situation:

Peruvian authorities declared a 90-day health emergency in five regions - including Junín, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Piura, and Lima - due to an ongoing outbreak of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). Some 206 cases of the disease had been reported as of 9 June in addition to four associated deaths, including two in Piura region and one each in La Libertad and Junín regions.

Further spread of the outbreak is possible over the coming weeks. Initial symptoms of GBS include numbness and tingling as well as back and muscle pain, followed by weakness in the extremities that progressively worsens over the course of days or weeks. If left untreated, GBS can lead to paralysis and cardiac arrest.

While the exact cause of the disorder is unknown, many cases are identified after individuals report diarrhea or a respiratory infection. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), GBS is "strongly associated" with the Zika virus. Symptoms of Zika virus disease - fever, headache (behind the eyes), conjunctivitis, rash, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain - can appear two to seven days after contracting the disease, although the virus is asymptomatic in approximately 80 percent of cases. In addition to spreading via mosquitoes, the transmission of the virus is also possible via sexual intercourse.

In addition to muscle weakness, symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty with eye muscles and vision

  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking, or chewing

  • Pricking or pins and needles sensations in the hands and feet

  • Pain that can be severe, particularly at night

  • Coordination problems and unsteadiness

  • Abnormal heart beat/rate or blood pressure

  • Problems with digestion and/or bladder control.

Mitigating Factors to Apply:

Since it is not known exactly how Guillain-Barré syndrome occurs, preventative measures are limited. However:

  • Seek medical assistance if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above

  • Continue to monitor for symptoms even after your departure from Peru as symptoms can appear up to 3 weeks after exposure

  • Ensure any poultry is thoroughly cooked before being eaten

Below is a map depicting locations of concern:

DISCLAIMER and Hold Harmless

Disclaimer: LSDS gathers information from multiple sources and offers insight and perspective to travelers. Sources cannot be validated for accuracy in every instance. Travelers assume all risk associated with their travel and are responsible for the decisions associated with travel and for their own safety. Users of this reference document agree, to hold harmless LSDS (LLC) its employees and clients associated with any risk or injury incurred during travel.


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