After returning from his holiday to Bali, the 23-year-old Briton had stomach problems. Later, he developed eye itching, followed by several days of difficulty breathing and speaking. Doctors diagnosed him with Guillaine-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease characterized by muscle weakness. Now the man is fighting for recovery. He is unable to speak or breathe on his own and is learning to walk again.
Tom Pegg, a 23-year-old Briton working as a real estate agent in Dubai, returned from his holiday in Bali. After his vacation, he had stomach problems, which happens to people returning from this region. Over the course of a few days, however, he felt increasingly worse, with eye itching and then throat problems.
Concerned about his symptoms, Pegg went to the hospital. Doctors, suspecting that the itching was the result of an allergic reaction, gave him an antihistamine. Two days later, the 23-year-old’s eyes swelled even more, he also had difficulty breathing and could not speak. His friend called an ambulance and the Briton was taken to hospital again.
This time, doctors took his case more seriously. Pegg was diagnosed with Guillaine-Barré syndrome. It is a rare autoimmune disease that causes muscle weakness or paralysis. Most often, they are preceded by an infection of the respiratory tract or gastrointestinal tract. The trigger of the disease is unknown.
The Independent reports that the 23-year-old’s condition at one point deteriorated to such an extent that he was placed in a medically induced coma for five days.
The 23-year-old is learning to walk again
At the beginning of September, the 23-year-old’s family managed to collect $100,000 as part of a fundraising campaign launched a few weeks earlier. The money was used to pay for the man’s transport from Dubai to the UK. After landing on the Islands, Pegg was taken to North Staffordshire University Hospital.
To treat this disease, immunomodulatory therapy is used, i.e. therapy that affects the immune system. Tom’s body responded positively to the plasma exchange. The condition of the eye improved and the man lost his sight for some time. Now the 23-year-old is learning to walk again.
– He can get out of bed for a short time, but he is still very weak and needs to be on oxygen. He underwent a tracheostomy (a procedure to open the anterior wall of the trachea to allow air to flow into the lungs, bypassing the nose, throat and larynx – ed.), and cannot speak or swallow. He is unable to breathe through his mouth and nose, said Pegg’s 28-year-old sister, adding that it is not known when the man will recover.
Guillaine-Barré syndrome – what is this disease?
Guillaine-Barré syndrome causes muscle weakness. In more severe forms, paralysis of the limbs (inability to move), breathing disorders due to weakening of the respiratory muscles, swallowing and speaking disorders, and facial muscle paralysis may occur. Disturbances in the transmission of nerve impulses are a consequence of the body’s autoimmune reaction to other infections. Difficulty breathing may require immediate medical attention. In people with a weakened immune system, the syndrome can cause paralysis and, in extreme cases, death.
According to the British National Health Service (NHS) on its website, most patients recover within a year, but one in five patients struggles with the long-term effects of the disease.
Main photo source: Shutterstock