Monitoring and reporting impact of COVID-19 in neurology patients: the Italian perspective

Neurological manifestations from COVID-19

Currently, there is very little data available concerning the neurological manifestations associated with COVID-19. An article by Dr Mao1 reported about 214 hospitalized patients in the Huazhong area in Wuhan, China with laboratory-confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19. Of these patients, 41.1% were considered severe cases, and 58.9% non-severe. In 36.4% of the patients, some neurological manifestations were observed, including central nervous system (CNS) involvement. These contained headache, dizziness, impaired consciousness, ataxia, cerebrovascular disease, and epilepsy. Some peripheral nervous system symptoms were observed as well, including hypogeusia, hyposmia, hypopsia, neuralgia, and some muscular symptoms with pain, myalgia, and elevated creatine kinase.1 So, this is the only data currently available regarding neurological dysfunctions in COVID-19 patients. Nonetheless, there is lot of attention in Europe, including Italy, about the involvement of the CNS in the classical case of COVID-19. The Italian Society of Neurology in the area of Lombardy is trying to develop a survey about the neurological involvement of patients with COVID-19. The main people involved in this are Prof. Carlo Ferrarese (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca and San Gerardo Hospital, ASST Monza), Prof. Vincenzo Silani (Humanitas Hospital in Milan), and Prof. Alessandro Padovani (University of Brescia). They are collecting this data from a large number of Italian COVID-19 patients. A few days ago, the European Reference Network for rare or low-prevalence complex diseases —Neuromuscular Diseases Network (ERN-NMD) also initiated a project to start a survey on the infection in subjects with neuromuscular diseases. Muscular symptoms, in fact, can be present in many patients with severe, but also less severe, COVID-19 infection.1 Even in people who do not seem to be affected by COVID-19, neurological symptoms may be present.2