Neuroinfections – what should we know?

Let's say it in English
Carmen Lobitz
Titelbild des englischsprachigen Beitrags über Neuroinfektionen
© freshidea/

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Neuroinfections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi are among the most serious diseases (encephalitis, meningitis), and in some cases have a mortality rate of up to 100 % (depending on the pathogen, age, origin, and immune status). In the following I will concentrate on viral neuroinfections such as SARS-CoV-2, mumps, rabies, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), Zika virus, herpes and polio.

Viruses that infect the nervous system are called neurotropic viruses. The best-known diseases caused by viral infections of the nervous system include rabies, poliomyelitis, shingles and TBE.

What are viruses?

Viruses are very simple organisms that require a host for reproduction. As they are only about 20 – 300 nm in size, an electron microscope is used to see them. Viruses vary in shape (round, rod-shaped or asymmetrical). Their structure is relatively simple: they consist of one or a few molecule classes and are sometimes surrounded by a protein envelope (capsid) or consist of several envelopes of proteins and lipids. The capsid contains the DNA or RNA as genetic material. Viruses are neither cells nor do they have their own metabolism. They do not have their own energy production or…

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