Enteroviruses (EV) frequently infect the central nervous system (CNS) and induce neurological diseases. Although the CNS is composed of many different cell types, the spectrum of tropism for each EV is considerable. These viruses have the ability to completely shut down host translational machinery and are considered highly cytolytic, thereby causing cytopathic effects. Hence, CNS dysfunction following EV infection of neuronal or glial cells might be expected. Perhaps unexpectedly given their cytolytic nature, EVs may establish a persistent infection within the CNS, and the lasting effects on the host might be significant with unanticipated consequences. This review will describe the clinical aspects of EV-mediated disease, mechanisms of disease, determinants of tropism, immune activation within the CNS, and potential treatment regimes.
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