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Binational outbreak of Guillain–Barré syndrome associated with Campylobacter jejuni infection, Mexico and USA, 2011

  • B. R. JACKSON (a1), J. ALOMÍA ZEGARRA (a2), H. LÓPEZ-GATELL (a3), J. SEJVAR (a1), F. ARZATE (a4), S. WATERMAN (a1), A. SÁNCHEZ NÚÑEZ (a5), B. LÓPEZ (a6), J. WEISS (a7), R. QUINTERO CRUZ (a2), D. Y. LÓPEZ MURRIETA (a4), R. LUNA-GIERKE (a1) (a8), K. HEIMAN (a1) (a8), A. R. VIEIRA (a1), C. FITZGERALD (a1), P. KWAN (a1), M. ZÁRATE-BERMÚDEZ (a1), D. TALKINGTON (a1), V. R. HILL (a1) and B. MAHON (a1)...

In June 2011, a cluster of suspected cases of Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), which can follow Campylobacter jejuni infection, was identified in San Luis Río Colorado (SLRC), Sonora, Mexico and Yuma County, Arizona, USA. An outbreak investigation identified 26 patients (18 from Sonora, eight from Arizona) with onset of GBS 4 May–21 July 2011, exceeding the expected number of cases (n = 1–2). Twenty-one (81%) patients reported antecedent diarrhoea, and 61% of 18 patients tested were seropositive for C. jejuni IgM antibodies. In a case-control study matched on age group, sex, ethnicity, and neighbourhood of residence, all Arizona GBS patients travelled to SLRC during the exposure period vs. 45% of matched controls (matched odds ratio 8·1, 95% confidence interval 1·5–∞). Exposure information and an environmental assessment suggested that GBS cases resulted from a large outbreak of C. jejuni infection from inadequately disinfected tap water in SLRC. Binational collaboration was essential in investigating this cross-border GBS outbreak, the first in mainland North America since 1976.

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Corresponding author
* Author for correspondence: Dr B. R. Jackson, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, MS A38, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA. (Email:
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