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Neuroepidemiology 2011;36:123–133

Population Incidence of Guillain-Barré Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Sejvar J.J. · Baughman A.L. · Wise M. · Morgan O.W.
Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology and Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., USA
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome, incidence
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome, meta-analysis

 goto top of outline Abstract

Population incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is required to assess changes in GBS epidemiology, but published estimates of GBS incidence vary greatly depending on case ascertainment, definitions, and sample size. We performed a meta-analysis of articles on GBS incidence by searching Medline (1966–2009), Embase (1988–2009), Cinahl (1981–2009) and CABI (1973–2009) as well as article bibliographies. We included studies from North America and Europe with at least 20 cases, and used population-based data, subject matter experts to confirm GBS diagnosis, and an accepted GBS case definition. With these data, we fitted a random-effects negative binomial regression model to estimate age-specific GBS incidence. Of 1,683 nonduplicate citations, 16 met the inclusion criteria, which produced 1,643 cases and 152.7 million person-years of follow-up. GBS incidence increased by 20% for every 10-year increase in age; the risk of GBS was higher for males than females. The regression equation for calculating the average GBS rate per 100,000 person-years as a function of age in years was exp[–12.0771 + 0.01813(age in years)] × 100,000. Our findings provide a robust estimate of background GBS incidence in Western countries. Our regression model may be used in comparable populations to estimate the background age-specific rate of GBS incidence for future studies.

Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Dr. James Sejvar, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology and
Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
1600 Clifton Road, Mailstop A-39, Atlanta, GA 30333 (USA)
Tel. +1 404 639 4657, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Received: December 7, 2010
Accepted: January 27, 2011
Published online: March 21, 2011
Number of Print Pages : 11
Number of Figures : 3, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 38

 goto top of outline Publication Details


Vol. 36, No. 2, Year 2011 (Cover Date: April 2011)

Journal Editor: Feigin V.L. (Auckland)
ISSN: 0251-5350 (Print), eISSN: 1423-0208 (Online)

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