Henipavirus infection of the central nervous system

Brian E. Dawes, Alexander N. Freiberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Nipah virus (NiV) and Hendra virus are highly pathogenic zoonotic viruses of the genus Henipavirus, family Paramyxoviridae. These viruses were first identified as the causative agents of severe respiratory and encephalitic disease in the 1990s across Australia and Southern Asia with mortality rates reaching up to 75%. While outbreaks of Nipah and Hendra virus infections remain rare and sporadic, there is concern that NiV has pandemic potential. Despite increased attention, little is understood about the neuropathogenesis of henipavirus infection. Neuropathogenesis appears to arise from dual mechanisms of vascular disease and direct parenchymal brain infection, but the relative contributions remain unknown while respiratory disease arises from vasculitis and respiratory epithelial cell infection. This review will address NiV basic clinical disease, pathology and pathogenesis with a particular focus on central nervous system (CNS) infection and address the necessity of a model of relapsed CNS infection. Additionally, the innate immune responses to NiV infection in vitro and in the CNS are reviewed as it is likely linked to any persistent CNS infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberftz023
JournalPathogens and disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Acute encephalitis
  • Henipavirus
  • Pathogenesis
  • Relapsed/late-onset encephalitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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