As reports of COVID-19 case series from China and elsewhere start to accumulate, we are getting a clearer picture of how infection with the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 can manifest in the brain and central nervous system (CNS). This brief report distills what is known to date in this fast-evolving realm. Echoes of earlier coronavirus outbreaks In the earlier SARS and MERS outbreaks resulting from similar coronaviruses, neurological complications were reported in rare cases, typically developing two to three weeks into the course of the infection. These included axonal peripheral neuropathy and rhabdomyolysis (both likely related to critical illness neuromuscular syndromes), acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, Bickerstaff encephalitis/Guillain-Barré syndrome and large-vessel stroke.1-5

 

Illustration of the thought processes in the brain

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