The neuropsychiatric aspects of influenza/swine flu: A selective review
The world witnessed the influenza virus during the seasonal epidemics and pandemics. The current strain of H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic is believed to be the legacy of the influenza pandemic (1918-19). The influenza virus has been implicated in many neuropsychiatric disorders. In view of the recent pandemic, it would be interesting to review the neuropsychiatric aspects of influenza, specifically swine flu. Author used popular search engine ‘PUBMED’ to search for published articles with different MeSH terms using Boolean operator (AND). Among these, a selective review of the published literature was done. Acute manifestations of swine flu varied from behavioral changes, fear of misdiagnosis during outbreak, neurological features like seizures, encephalopathy, encephalitis, transverse myelitis, aseptic meningitis, multiple sclerosis, and Guillian-Barre Syndrome. Among the chronic manifestations, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, mood disorder, dementia, and mental retardation have been hypothesized. Further research is required to understand the etiological hypothesis of the chronic manifestations of influenza. The author urges neuroscientists around the world to make use of the current swine flu pandemic as an opportunity for further research.