Non-infectious mechanisms of neurological damage due to infection

Felix Benninger, Israel Steiner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Infections of the nervous system is a growing aspect of clinical neurology. Accumulating knowledge in early diagnosis, course, therapy and prognosis is enlarging the clinical tools required for effective therapy. Of special importance is the ability to differentiate between proper infections, where anti-microbial agents, when available, should be introduced and used and post infectious conditions where therapy is mainly directed against the host immune system. The two conditions sometimes overlap, a situation that requires the ability to combine clinical skills with the use of laboratory tools such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), serology, and antigenic detection. In the era of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the need to make this distinction is emphasized as correct diagnosis of post infectious conditions and expedited therapy is important and sometimes lifesaving. We here attempt to present several infectious agents and their possible indirect damage to the nervous system causing in some cases significant neurological deficits. We try to limit our focus on those mechanisms which do not involve the direct tissue damage by the infectious agents but rather are connected to para- and post-infectious mechanisms. We attempt to delineate the features that will enable to tailor the correct diagnosis and following the effective therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120057
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2021


  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Neurology
  • Post-infectious


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