Are mental illnesses caused by infection? A new book argues that illnesses like schizophrenia and OCD stem from strep, influenza, and herpes.
Insanity is infectious—or so says Dr. Ian Lipkin, a famed epidemiologist from Columbia University, who is internationally recognized for his work on West Nile virus and SARS.
He’s one of many renowned doctors featured in Harriet A. Washington’s new book Infectious Madness, which explores the growing body of evidence that suggests mental illnesses can be caused by infection. Lipkin, who’s written a great deal on the topic, believes mental illness can result from infections such as strep, influenza, and herpes simplex. Not all the doctors in the book agree.