Guillan Barré and Vaccines: Cause or Coincidence?

May 17, 2017
Terry Brenneman, MD
Terry Brenneman, MD

Is there convincing evidence of a causal connection between GBS and vaccines? Consider this clinical scenario, then choose true from false.

Does a history of having contracted Guillan Barré syndrome (GBS) preclude someone from receiving certain vaccines? Which vaccines do you have to worry about? What is the evidence for a causal connection?         

In the following scenario, see if you think a contraindication is present.

A 12-year-old is in your office and needs a Tdap, HPV, inactivated flu shot, and quadravalent meningococcal vaccine. Her medical history is significant for GBS that began 4 weeks after she received Tdap, MMR, IPV, LAIV, and Varivax at age 5. She has recovered fully.

Which of the following statements is true?