Extremely rare Guillain-Barre identified in Houston toddler who stopped functioning like normal

HOUSTON – A few months ago, Satoiya Babineaux woke up to her daughter in pain from a stomach bug. Unfortunatly, her daughter’s symptoms never improved and continued to get worse.

“It was very scary because she could not tell you what was wrong. We just know that one day she was walking and the next day she couldn’t even hold her head up,” Babineaux said. “They said it was paralysis and she had it from the neck down.”

It turns out her daughter, 1-year-old Joleigh, was experiencing a severe form of Guillain-Barre, which is so extremely rare in a young child that it was not the doctors’ first assumption.

“A lot of people that get Guillain-Barre, it just affects the covering of their nerves but for her, it affected her actual nerves so long term, we might expect a poorer prognosis. However, the fact she has made so much improvement in such a short period of time and has done just remarkable, I think bodes well for her in terms of long term prognosis,” said Dr. Stacey Hall with UT Health Houston and TIRR / Memorial Hermann.

Babineaux said her daughter still has a long way to go to get to a full recovery but she wants all parents to know this is a possible complication of viruses.

“Trust your gut,” Babineaux added. “You know your child better than anyone else. We spend the most time with them, we gave life to them, we’re nurturing them so just trust yourself. I believe that me trusting myself and forcing everyone to look a little bit closer and figure out what it is, is why we got diagnosed [and] is why we got treatment before it was too late.”

Hall said fewer than 1 in 100,000 children are likely to get this. It’s almost unheard of in children under two.

The main culprit is typically after having a virus, so Hall is convinced the stomach bug she had months ago is what led to this rare event.