Nocardia slide and brain image

Neurology-Infectious Diseases Program

In the Neurology-Infectious Diseases Program, we work with other infectious disease specialists to diagnose and treat infections of the nervous system, and neurological complications of systemic infections.
Access Patient Gateway

Neurology-Infectious Diseases Program: 617-726-8639



Infectious diseases may affect any part of the nervous system, from the brain and spinal cord to muscles and nerves. Many direct and indirect complications of infectious diseases are skillfully managed by infectious diseases specialists, but neurological involvement often leads to consultation with a neurologist due to the complicated diagnosis and management in nervous system disease. We work side by side with other infectious disease specialists to diagnose and treat infections of the nervous system and neurological complications of systemic infections. Through clinics in both the Department of Neurology and the Department of Medicine’s Infectious Diseases Division, we collaborate, educate each other, and share clinical expertise and resources. We also provide specialized consultation for inpatient neurological infectious diseases issues.

Our Doctors

Nagagopal Venna in his officeNagagopal Venna, MD, Director of the Neurology-Infectious Diseases Program, is trained in both internal medicine and neurology. Before coming to Mass General, he served as director of clinical neurology at Boston City Hospital for 18 years, where he treated patients with neurological involvement in AIDS and HIV, among other infections. He has a vast experience in the diagnosis and management of nervous system infections and has taught generations of neurologists and infectious diseases specialists in this area.


Tracey ChoTracey Cho, MD, Associate Director of the Neurology-Infectious Diseases Program, completed a fellowship with Dr. Venna in Academic General Neurology with a focus on Infectious Diseases. He has written and lectured locally and internationally on neurological infectious diseases. Along with Dr. Venna, he participates in clinical trials for the treatment of neurological complications of HIV.


What to Expect

We see patients in Neurology-Infectious Diseases Clinic once a week. Our clinics are located in the Neurology Clinic in the Wang Ambulatory Care Center Building on the eighth floor, Suite 835, and also in the Infectious Diseases Clinic on the fifth floor of the Cox Building.

During your visit, one of our neurology-infectious diseases specialists reviews your history and performs an examination. You may also meet with a student, resident, or fellow who is working with one of our specialists. At the conclusion of your visit, we will discuss your diagnosis, prognosis, and management plan. Any further testing and follow-up appointments will be scheduled through our administrative staff. A consultation letter will be sent to your primary care physician and other referring providers.

Mass General physicians seeking inpatient consultation can usually expect immediate (same day) evaluation and recommendations for urgent questions. Non-urgent inpatient consultations will generally be completed within one to two days. In addition to reviewing cases and providing timely recommendations, we will arrange for any subsequent follow-up in our clinic. Inpatient consultation may be arranged by paging Tracey Cho, MD, through the Partners Paging System.

Residents, Fellows & Visiting Physicians

As part of our mission to educate the next generation of neurologists, we train fellows from both the Division of Infectious Diseases, and the Department of Neurology. These fully trained physicians are specializing in the treatment of neurological infectious diseases. They contribute their own expertise to enhance the care of our patients through participation in our clinics. In addition, resident physicians from the Partners Neurology Residency program, and Mass General Internal Medicine rotate through the Neurology-Infectious Diseases Clinic. Finally, Harvard Medical Students, other students, and physicians from across the country, and around the world sometimes rotate in our clinic to gain experience in the diagnosis and management of neurological infections.


Please call our clincal coordiator 617-643-0601 to make an appointment. We require a referral from your primary care physician, neurologist, or infectious diseases physician. Please submit a completed referral form, your medical records and any imaging (preferably on CD-ROM) prior to your visit to optimize the productivity of the appointment. Referral forms may be faxed to 617-726-6991.

About this Program

About Our Service

The Neurology-Infectious Diseases Program is a unique subspecialty structured to diagnose, treat, and study the vast neurological complications of an array of infectious agents. Our section cares for patients suffering from conditions including:

  • Neurological complications of HIV (including encephalopathy, neuropathy, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, toxoplasmosis, primary CNS lymphoma, cryptococcal meningitis)
  • Acute bacterial meningitis (inpatient consultation or residual neurological complications)
  • Viral encephalitis (including HSV, VZV, and others)
  • Parasitic infections of the brain and spinal cord (e.g. neurocysticercosis, schistosomiasis)
  • Tuberculosis of the nervous system
  • Syphilis of the nervous system
  • Brain abscess
  • Infections of the spinal cord (myelitis)
  • Recurrent aseptic meningitis
  • Neurological infections in transplant patients

Often these conditions are difficult to diagnose. When any of these are suspected, expert evaluation can help to confirm the proper diagnosis or to rule out diseases and point in other directions for diagnosis and management.

Research & Clinical Trials

We conduct ongoing research on neurologic complications of infectious diseases with the goal of improving care of patients with these conditions. We also participate in clinical trials, and other types of research. Please visit the Partners Clinical Trials website for more information about trials we are currently conducting.

Training & Education

As part of our mission to educate the next generation of neurologists, we train fellows from both the Division of Infectious Diseases, and the Department of Neurology. Read more about the Advanced General Neurology Fellowship at

Conditions & Diseases

  • Encephalitis

    Encephalitis is an inflammation caused by a viral infection.

  • HIV / AIDS

    HIV/AIDS is a syndrome that kills cells of the immune system, impairing the body’s ability to fight infection.

  • Meningitis

    Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain.

  • Poliomyelitis (Polio)

    Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by three types of poliovirus.

  • Tuberculosis

    Tuberculosis (TB) is a chronic bacterial infection that usually infects the lungs, although other organs are sometimes involved.


  • Partners Neurology Residents at Mass General

    Partners Neurology Residency

    Neurology residents, program graduates, faculty members, and the education director talk about training at Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Access Patient Gateway

Neurology-Infectious Diseases Program: 617-726-8639

Back to Top