Neuroinfectious Diseases

Read about Neuroinfectious Diseases

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Description of Disease

Neuroinfectious diseases affect the nervous system, from the brain and spinal cord to muscles and nerves.

There are a wide range of neuroinfectious diseases, including:

  • Meningitis and encephalitis, in which inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord caused by bacterial or viral infection may lead to disability or death.
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a viral infection that can lead to loss of coordination, language ability and memory.
  • HIV-associated neurodegeneration, a dementia induced by HIV infection despite successful antiretroviral therapy.
  • Neurosarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease of the nervous system marked by facial weakness and headache that may lead to a chronic condition.
  • HTLV 1 myelopathy hereditary spastic paraparesis, a progressive disease of the spinal cord resulting in painfully stiff, weak legs.
  • Transverse myelitis, an inflammation of both sides of the spinal cord that can cause pain, weakness, paralysis, sensory problems, or bladder and bowel dysfunction.

 
Treatments for these diseases may include antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory or anticonvulsive medicines, among other approaches.

Treatments in this area are complex and evolving. There are currently no cures.

Mysteries of Disease that Need to be Solved

How can we minimize the global burden of disability from neurological manifestations of infectious diseases?

Can we develop therapies for neuro-invasive viruses?

Can we improve diagnostics and laboratory science by using molecular diagnostics and serum DNA analysis for diagnosis of infectious disease?

Disease Resources

West Nile Virus (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Transverse Myelitis Fact Sheet (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy Summary (Genetic and Rare Diseases)

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