Viruses in the Flaviviridae family, such as West Nile Virus (WNV) and Dengue, spread by arthropods (mosquitoes and ticks), represent a major threat to global health. Since 2000 there was a major uptick in the number of flaviviral infections worldwide, due to global climate change, and changes in patterns of urbanization and migration. First found in 1999, WNV spread across the US by 2004, resulting in 22,000+ cases of neuroinvasive disease and 2,000+ deaths (CDC 2017). Zika virus (ZIKV) is another emergent pathogen causing a significant concern because of neurodevelopmental defects. As vectors expand, so do the range of local viral transmissions and frequency of infections. Thus, it is important to understand the nature of symptoms associated with flaviviral infections, so that better surveillance programs can be established. Here we conducted literature review to identify which flaviviruses have documented neurological symptoms, including psychiatric, neurodegenerative, and developmental disorders. Knowledge of such associations with specific viruses can be used in multiple ways, including identification of those likely at risk of developing neurological disorders and/or expanding the list of symptoms to look for. Furthermore, better understanding of molecular underpinnings of neurological symptoms (e.g., if driven by a flavivirus activating the host’s TLR3 pathway) may aid in the development of therapies and interventions. Overall, knowing the breadth of symptoms associated with flaviviral infections can open up opportunities for preventative treatment before neurological symptoms are detected.
Viruses in the Flaviviridae family, such as West Nile Virus and Dengue, are threats to global health. Flaviviruses are primarily spread by mosquitoes and ticks. Due to the abundance of vectors and the nature of flaviviruses, it is important to better understand the workings of the viruses. Through a literary review we were able to find flaviviruses that were associated with psychiatric, neurodegenerative, and developmental disorders. Also looked at was the role flaviviruses had in interacting with the host’s TLR3 pathway. A history of infection could be used to help find those at risk of developing neurological disorders. The knowledge on the TLR3 pathway can help develop treatments. It is crucial to understand the symptoms and molecular workings of flaviviruses to provide better treatment.
Nitirahardjo, C., Plonski, N.-M., & Piontkivska, H. (2019). Distribution of neurological and neurodegenerative symptoms in flaviviral infections. https://oaks.kent.edu/node/8010
Nitirahardjo, Caroline, Noel-Marie Plonski, and Helen Piontkivska. 2019. “Distribution of Neurological and Neurodegenerative Symptoms in Flaviviral Infections”. https://oaks.kent.edu/node/8010.
Nitirahardjo, C., N.-M. Plonski, and H. Piontkivska. Distribution of Neurological and Neurodegenerative Symptoms in Flaviviral Infections. 9 Apr. 2019, https://oaks.kent.edu/node/8010.