Although primarily a respiratory disease, neurological complications of COVID-19 are increasingly being reported, according to a recent review.
The complications reported in patients with COVID-19 range from anosmia and ageusia to encephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and stroke. The conditions appear to result from a combination of non-specific complications of systemic disease, the effects of direct viral infection, and/or inflammation of the nervous system and vasculature.
The authors state, ‘Careful clinical, diagnostic, and epidemiological studies are needed to help define the manifestations and burden of neurological disease caused by SARS-CoV-2… The proportion of infections leading to neurological disease will probably remain small. However, these patients might be left with severe neurological sequelae. With so many people infected, the overall number of neurological patients, and their associated health burden and social and economic costs might be large. Health-care planners and policy makers must prepare for this eventuality’.