Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From the Point of View of Neurologists: Observation of Neurological Findings and Symptoms During the Combat Against a Pandemic

Noro Psikiyatr Ars. 2020 May 1;57(2):154-159. doi: 10.29399/npa.26148. eCollection 2020 Jun.


Some respiratory viruses have long been known to cause neurological involvement. A novel coronavirus, leading to severe acute respiratory syndrome, also called coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), seems to be a new member of neuroinvasive viruses. While severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) keeps on spreading around the world rapidly, reports about the neurological manifestations associated with SARS-CoV-2, increases day by day. It is reported that a variety of symptoms and syndromes such as headache, dizziness, confusion, ataxia, epilepsy, ischemic stroke, neuropathic pain and myopathy are common especially in more severe COVID-19 patients. It is also suggested that the development of neurological complications is strongly associated with a poor outcome. On the other hand, hyposmia can be the unique symptom in COVID-19 carriers and this can serve as a marker for identifying the otherwise asymptomatically infected patients. It is thought that SARS-CoV-2 may cause neurological symptoms through direct or indirect mechanisms. Nevertheless, neuroinvasion capability of SARS-CoV2 is confirmed by the presence of the virus, in the cerebrospinal fluid of a COVID-19 patient with encephalitis, and this is proven by gene sequencing. In conclusion, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to be aware of the possible neurological complications of the disease. Therefore, in this review, we aimed to report neurological manifestations associated with SARS-CoV-2 and possible underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. Due to the high homology of SARS-CoV-2 with other human coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)-CoV, reviewing the neurological involvement also associated with these coronaviruses will provide an idea about the long-term complications of COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus disease 19; SARS-CoV-2; acute respiratory distress syndrome; neurological symptom.

Publication types

  • Review