Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Human Herpesvirus-6 Invades the Brain through the Nose

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Human Herpesvirus-6 Invades the Brain through the Nose

Article excerpt

It has been discovered that human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) travels along olfactory cells and into the brain after becoming situated in people's nasal mucus. HHV-6 is known as a common cause of the childhood infection roseola, which manifests itself as a chest rash accompanied by a high fever. Despite the commonality of the virus in people, little is known about it. Researchers say that in some cases, HHV-6 can infect the brain, where it might contribute to some types of epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

Steven Jacobson, of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland, noted that other viruses, such as herpes simplex, influenza A, and rabies, use the nasal canal to invade the brain. He wondered whether the same was true for HHV-6.

In two of three brain tissue samples, researchers found HHV-6 in high levels around the olfactory bulb, a part of the brain oriented toward smell. In a nasal mucus sample study, the team of researchers found the virus in 52 of 126 samples. …

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