The 2015–2017 Zika Virus outbreak caused a high increase in patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a post infectious autoimmune disease of the peripheral nerves. The severity of GBS can range from mild impairment with fast recovery to complete paralysis including severe respiratory or autonomic failure. Recovery may take months and even years and may be incomplete despite disease modifying treatment with IVIG or plasma exchange. Therefore, optimal supportive care and effective rehabilitation remain crucial. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation is recommended but may be challenging in the acute phase because of limited patient participation due to profound muscle weakness and severe pain. Inactive denervated muscles will inevitably undergo rapid degeneration resulting in wasting, weakness, and contractures as major long-term complications in severely affected patients. In this chapter, the current evidence of rehabilitation on the short- and long-term motor function in GBS is reviewed, including newly obtained experiences with neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES). Rehabilitation remains an area lacking well designed and controlled clinical studies and thus a clear lack of evidence-based guidelines.
Part of the book: Current Concepts in Zika Research