Dengue Can Cause Serious Neurological Complications; Know All About It

Dengue – a mosquito-borne illness can lead to severe inflammation in your brain which causes neurological complications in people of all ages - from 3 months old kids to elderly aged 60 years. Read on to know what these are.
Neurological complications caused by dengue

The immune response triggered by dengue can exacerbate neurological issues, making management complex

Dengue is among the deadliest monsoon diseases transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which if not treated well in time can lead to fatal consequences. Even though it is basically not a neurotropic virus, there have been reports of neurological manifestations during and after the infection, especially in the recent past.
According to doctors, during dengue illness and recovery, both hepatic and neurological symptoms have been observed, with the neurological symptoms caused mostly due to metabolic alterations, hypotension, and hemorrhagic manifestations.
While those suffering from dengue may experience headaches, altered mental status, seizures, and even coma, studies say the virus's neurotropic nature means it can directly infect neural cells, causing damage and inflammation. Furthermore, the immune response triggered by the infection can exacerbate these neurological issues, making management complex.

How does dengue cause neurological complications?

Experts say high fever in dengue leads to severe effects on the nervous system – which leads to altered consciousness levels and difficulty in talking, stroke, seizures, fits, or even bleeding in the brain due to low platelet counts. When the platelet levels are low due to dengue, it affects your nervous system as well. A few other neurological effects include:
Severe headaches
Altered mental status
Seizures
Coma
Experts say the virus's neurotropic nature means it can directly infect neural cells, causing damage and inflammation.

Neurological conditions caused by Dengue

A few neurological conditions that result from altered immune response in dengue, include:

Encephalitis

Encephalitis is a severe manifestation of the dengue infection which causes cerebral lesions. According to doctors, mostly symptomatic treatments are available for encephalitis since there is no specific cure.

Encephalopathy

Encephalopathy is among the deadliest and most common neurological disorders associated with dengue, with an almost 50 per cent mortality rate. It leads to cognitive impairment, convulsions, and personality and behaviour disorders, including acute mania, depression, emotional lability, anxiety, and psychosis.

Meningitis

Even though meningitis due to dengue infection is rare, it does lead to fatalities. According to experts, common signs and symptoms to identify meningitis include headache, fever, and neck rigidity.

Stroke

Dengue infection can also cause ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes which appear as focal neurological deficits, paralysis, or even difficulty in speech. Hemorrhagic strokes are also caused due to increased permeability of blood vessels and plasma leakage.

Cerebellar syndrome

Cases of cerebellar syndrome can manifest with gait disturbances, abnormal rhythmic eyeball movement, and difficulty in speech.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome results in a rapidly ascending paralysis, that can occur up to three weeks after dengue infection.

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis or ADEM is an acute inflammatory demyelinating ailment affecting the central nervous system, due to immune reactions, which occur during or after dengue virus infection. There is no established treatment for ADEM; however, doctors would recommend taking steroids during its active phase.

Peripheral nervous system complications

Peripheral nervous system complications are observed in just five per cent of the cases of neurological complications during and /or after dengue. Some of them are given below.
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