Molecular Biology and Epidemiology of Neurotropic Viruses

Cureus. 2020 Aug 11;12(8):e9674. doi: 10.7759/cureus.9674.


Neurotropic viruses are those viruses that can cause central nervous system (CNS) diseases with both neuroinvasive and neurovirulence properties. It comprises a wide range of viruses, including herpes simplex virus, poliovirus, enteroviruses, parechovirus, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, measles, and mumps viruses among others. Some of these viruses are highly neuroinvasive and neurovirulent, while others are weakly neuroinvasive and neurovirulent. Moreover, some of them, like herpes simplex viruses, are highly neuroinvasive but weakly neurovirulent for the peripheral nervous system and highly neurovirulent but weakly neuroinvasive for the central nervous system. All these disparities are a result of differences in their genomic constitution, associated vectors, geographical region, and environmental factors. Therefore, a successful intervention will be almost impossible without a clear understanding of the molecular biology and epidemiology of these viruses. Thus, we conducted a review of the published studies on the molecular biology and epidemiology of the common neurotropic viruses to make the viral genetic makeup more understandable for targeted intervention and provide the morbidity and mortality data of the different neurotropic viruses for more serious action.

Keywords: genome; neuroinvasive; neurotropic viruses; neurovirulence; prevalence and incidence; replication.

Publication types

  • Review