As the monkeypox outbreak continues to spread around the globe, a rare but potentially serious complication of the virus has been discovered by Daniel Pastula, MD, MHS, associate professor of neurology and infectious diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health.
Pastula is the lead author of a study, published this week in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, that found two cases of monkeypox-associated encephalomyelitis — inflammation of the brain and spinal cord — in patients in Colorado and Washington, D.C. Among the other researchers on the paper is Ken Tyler, MD, professor of neurology.
→Learn more about monkeypox and who is most at risk.
Pastula and Tyler first warned of the neuroinvasive potential of monkeypox in August in a review published in Annals of Neurology, writing that the disease “likely has the potential to be neuroinvasive based on animal models, previous case series, and preliminary reports currently under investigation. Even though neurologic manifestations of human monkeypox virus infection are rare, given the increasing cases throughout the world, neurologists should be prepared to recognize, diagnose, and treat potential neuroinvasive disease or other neurologic symptoms.”
We spoke with Pastula about both papers, and the current state of monkeypox.