This article discusses the assessment of the patient presenting with neurologic symptoms who has lived in or traveled through tropical or subtropical regions and reviews selected nervous system infections prevalent in the tropics and subtropics, with discussion of the epidemiology, clinical features, recommended diagnostic testing, and management.
Increasing travel, emigration, and population growth all facilitate the global spread of tropical neurologic infections. Neurologists worldwide should be aware of the spectrum of neurologic manifestations as well as the most appropriate approach to diagnosis and management of these infections.
Although many infectious tropical diseases affecting the nervous system are preventable or treatable, the burden of disease remains high, with significant socioeconomic costs associated with managing acute manifestations and chronic, often debilitating, neurologic sequelae. Tropical infections of the nervous system are often transmitted in regions where people live in poverty and where access to adequate health care is limited. As with most infections of the nervous system, timely access to proper treatment is of utmost importance, as delays are typically associated with worse outcome.
Address correspondence to Dr Kiran Thakur, Department of Neurology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 177 Fort Washington Avenue, Milstein Hospital, 8GS-300, New York, NY 10032, Ktt2115@cumc.columbia.edu.
Relationship Disclosure: Dr Thakur serves as a consultant for the World Health Organization. Dr Zunt receives grant funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Drs Thakur and Zunt report no disclosures.