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3 Types of Brain Infections

A majority of the times infections in the brain are because of a virus or bacteria, but in some cases parasites and fungi can infect the brain too. Mainly, there are 3 types of brain infections

  1. Brain Abscess
  2. Meningitis
  3. Encephalitis

Brain Abscess is the collection of material (usually from an infection) inside the brain. Meningitis is the infected membrane which surrounds the spinal cord and brain, while Encephalitis is a term used to describe inflammation or infection in the brain itself. This is a rare occurrence, and when it does happen, it is almost always caused by a virus.

According to a famous neurologist in Mumbai from Jaslok Hospital, whenever bacteria are involved in the infection of the brain it becomes a medical complication that may sometimes lead to permanent brain damage or even death.

Depending upon the kind of brain infection you have, the symptoms can vary. A generic list of symptoms for a brain infection is mentioned below

  • High fever
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Severe stiff neck
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting
  • Migraines

Symptoms are a more serious for if you have an infection in the brain due to bacteria. Commonly known symptoms are:

  • Coma
  • Unconsciousness
  • A purplish rash spreading on your skin
  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis

Whenever a virus enters the brain, it happens mainly via contaminated food or drinks, respiratory droplets, contact via skin or insect bites. Comparatively, the bacteria are not as highly contagious. The viruses capable of causing brain infection include rabies, mumps, rubella, poliovirus, adenovirus, echovirus, coxsackievirus, Epstein-Barr virus, West Nile virus, cytomegalovirus, eastern equine encephalitis virus and herpes simplex infection. According to an experienced neurologist from Gurgaon,

Generally speaking, when a virus infects the brain and affects the brain’s functioning, it does not demand any specific medical treatment because it subsides on its own without leaving behind any medical complication. The only exception is herpes, where you need to be prescribed an antiviral drug.

When infected by bacteria, one can face bacterial related health conditions like syphilis, Lyme disease and tuberculosis. The bacteria which most commonly cause infection in the brain’s membrane include Neisseria Meningititis (causes meningococcal meningitis), Streptococcus Pneumonia (causes pneumococcal meningitis) and Haemophilus Influenza Type B.

Treatments for brain infections caused by bacteria may require a wide variety of antibiotics, depending upon which strain of the bacterium has infected the brain. Before identification of the bacterium, antibiotics are given intravenously. Other treatments include anticonvulsants (to treat seizures), mild sedative to treat restlessness and irritability, administration of oxygen for respiratory distress symptoms, and fluids replacement for dehydration which might occur as a result of vomiting.

When infected with a parasite or fungi, one may face conditions like trichinosis, toxoplasmosis, mucormycosis, aspergillosis, coccidioidomycosis and cysticercosis.

Early diagnosis of brain infections is important, as it may save the life of the patient. If ever in doubt, call your neurologist immediately.


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This write-up was contributed by Credihealth content team:

Credihealth is a medical assistance company that gives guidance to a patient from the first consultation through the entire hospitalization process. A team of in-house Credihealth doctors helps the patient find the right doctor, book appointment, request cost estimate for procedures and manage admission & discharge processes.

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