COVID-19 Resource Center

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Neuroinfectious diseases are infections of the nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Neuroinfectious diseases typically result when the body’s immune system is unable to fight off an invading pathogen or germ.

Neurological infections are caused by microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Many of these infections are life-threatening, and can cause severe and permanent neurological damage. For this reason, prompt medical attention by physicians who specialize in neuroinfectious diseases is important.

Viruses that infect the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) include:

  • Herpesviruses
  • Arboviruses, which are carried by mosquitos and ticks
  • Coxsackieviruses, including hand, foot and mouth disease
  • Enteroviruses, which live in the digestive tract
  • Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), which are airborne and can be spread through coughing and sneezing

The Neuroinfectious Diseases Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital is committed to providing high-quality, patient-centered care across the spectrum of neuroinfectious diseases, including care for those with neurological complications of COVID-19.