The neuropsychiatric aspects of influenza/swine flu: A selective review

Understand the implications and respond accordingly with a stable & calm approach to your actions….

Stories coming out of china, this coronavirus has a side effect very much like polio.

Many of the patients along with developing ARDS also developed Polio like symptoms making breathing equipment required.


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




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.


The well-documented acute neuropsychiatric manifestations of influenza and swine flu are encephalitis/encephalopathy, seizures, RS, transverse myelitis, and aseptic meningitis, and GBS. Among the chronic manifestations of influenza, the evidence for schizophrenia and PD require further scientific data. Suicide and GBS are the two controversial neuropsychiatric side-effects of oseltamivir and influenza vaccination respectively, undergoing post-marketing surveillance.

Many notable neuropsychiatric manifestations implicated with the infection of influenza/swine flu, the relation between swine flu and neuropsychiatry are yet to be understood fully, especially the chronic manifestations. The neuropsychiatric community around the world shall make use this swine flu pandemic for further research.

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.

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