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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jul;1792(7):714-21. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2008.08.001. Epub 2008 Aug 12.

Viral parkinsonism.

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Department of Developmental Neurobiology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.


Parkinson's disease is a debilitating neurological disorder that affects 1-2% of the adult population over 55 years of age. For the vast majority of cases, the etiology of this disorder is unknown, although it is generally accepted that there is a genetic susceptibility to any number of environmental agents. One such agent may be viruses. It has been shown that numerous viruses can enter the nervous system, i.e. they are neurotropic, and induce a number of encephalopathies. One of the secondary consequences of these encephalopathies can be parkinsonism, that is both transient as well as permanent. One of the most highlighted and controversial cases of viral parkinsonism is that which followed the 1918 influenza outbreak and the subsequent induction of von Economo's encephalopathy. In this review, we discuss the neurological sequelae of infection by influenza virus as well as that of other viruses known to induce parkinsonism including Coxsackie, Japanese encephalitis B, St. Louis, West Nile and HIV viruses.

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