Our response to COVID-19

We're supporting people to maintain their wellbeing and manage isolation.

Infectious agents

How are infectious agents related to bipolar disorder?

Several markers of infectious agents have been investigated in people with bipolar disorder due to their neurological interactions. Any association between these infectious agents and risk of subsequent bipolar disorder remains unclear.

Infectious agents include Toxoplasma gondii and Borna Disease Virus. Toxoplasma gondii is a parasitic protozoa usually hosted by domestic cats and other warm-blooded animals, including humans. Borna Disease Virus is the key causative component of Borna disease, a neurological syndrome primarily affecting animals, but sometimes humans.

What is the evidence for markers of infectious agents in people with bipolar disorder?

Moderate to high quality evidence suggests a small effect of increased markers for borna disease virus and for Toxoplasma gondii in people with bipolar disorder compared to controls. Increases in Toxoplasma gondii antibodies were particularly apparent in people with bipolar disorder who were under 40 years of age. There were no differences in herpesviruses antibodies between patients and controls.

July 2020

Last updated at: 5:38 am, 14th July 2020
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.