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Guillain-Barre syndrome is not hereditary or contagious. What causes GBS is not known; however, in about half of all cases the onset of the syndrome follows a viral or bacterial infection, such as the following:flu, common coldgastrointestinal viral infectioninfectious mononucleosisviral hepatitiscampylobacteriosis (usually from eating undercooked poultry)porphyria (rare disease of red blood cells) A small number of cases have been known to occur after a medical procedure, such as minor surgery.Guillain-Barre syndrome may be an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces antibodies that damage the myelin sheath that surrounds peripheral nerves. The myelin sheath is a fatty substance that surrounds axons. It increases the speed at which signals travel along the nerves.
No one yet knows why Guillain-Barré strikes some people and not others or what sets the disease in motion.
Most patients, however, recover from even the most severe cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, although some continue to have some degree of weakness.