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Keywords:

  • epidemiology;
  • Guillain−Barré syndrome;
  • incidence

Background and purpose

It is important to have an estimate of the incidence of Guillain−Barré syndrome (GBS) because of the expansion of vaccination programs and the associated risks of vaccine-related GBS. Incidence information in Asia, especially in China, is scarce. This study attempts to describe GBS incidence in large Chinese populations located in three geographically different and moderately distant areas of the same province.

Methods

The surveyed areas were Nanjing, Yancheng and Xuzhou, which are three cities in Jiangsu province in China. Nanjing is in the south of Jiangsu province, Yancheng is in the middle and Xuzhou is in the north. The survey was carried out in regions that might have received patients meeting the case definition from 2008 to 2010. The population numbers came from the local Bureau of Statistics. Data analysis was conducted in 2011.

Results

The incidence of GBS was 0.59 cases per 100 000 person-years. The GBS incidence increased with age amongst people <80 years old. Males had a higher incidence of GBS than females. GBS incidence in Nanjing was the highest amongst the three regions.

Conclusions

The incidence rates in parts of Jiangsu province were lower than those in Europe and North America. There was one peak in incidence amongst older adults (70–80 years). Geographical differences in GBS incidence rates may be related to socioeconomic status. There were no significant seasonal variations of incidence in Jiangsu.