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What Causes Brain Infections?

causes of brain infections

All infections are in varying degrees dangerous, and even more so – neuroinfections. The most dangerous of neuroinfections are those that affect the brain. There can be no unserious diseases. Each pathogen that can overcome the blood-brain barrier poses a huge danger to the person’s health and life. Read our overview of brain encephalitis below. 

 

Types of brain infections

The whole variety of neuroinfections affecting the brain can be divided into several groups:

  • bacterial (mycoplasma, meningococcus, pneumococcus, listeria);
  • parasitic (plasmodium, which causes malaria, toxoplasma);
  • viral (different viruses).

Actually, they are the causative agents of encephalitis. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain tissue. It is caused by a viral infection or autoimmune disease. The disease progresses rapidly and requires urgent medical attention. There are:

Fungal encephalitis is caused by a fungal infection that enters the bloodstream and attacks the spinal cord. This type of encephalitis is especially dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, such as those infected with HIV.

Toxoplasmic encephalitis is caused by a protozoan parasite that mainly lives on cats. You can not get infected from them, but by eating unwashed vegetables or raw meat. It is also dangerous for HIV-infected people or people with weakened immunity.

Autoimmune encephalitis can be caused by the immune system attack on the brain or develop as a result of an infection – such encephalitis is called “post-infectious”. Other types of encephalitis are associated with the activity of specific antibodies in the blood.

Encephalitis can also be caused by:

  • Herpes simplex: first and second types
  • Chickenpox: mumps, measles, rubella
  • Influenza, enteroviruses
  • Intestinal viruses
  • Insect-borne viruses: Japanese encephalitis, West Nile virus, tick-borne encephalitis.

Bacterial infections influence on the brain

Bacterial infections influence on the brain

A huge number of pathogens related to bacterial infections can affect the brain.

Diseases such as meningitis, encephalitis, or brain abscess may well cause such “ordinary” pathogens as pneumococcus, staphylococcus, enterobacteria. But this can happen only when:

  • You have skull bones damaged, with broken integrity of the membranes of the brain;
  • entry of pathogens during a neurosurgical operation;
  • the presence of a purulent focus in the body and a weakened immune system.

However, the situation is different from other pathogens.

Meningococcal disease is a traditional neuroinfection that affects the brain. The peak incidence is observed in the autumn-winter period when the immune system is reduced due to frequent hypothermia and lack of vitamins.

If the immune system is normal, then you will limit yourself to the usual nasopharyngitis. Otherwise, the likelihood of getting meningitis or meningoencephalitis increases.

Meningococcal infection symptoms:

  • fever,
  • an increase in body temperature to 39-40 ° C.
  • chills,
  • headache
  • weakness
  • neck muscle tension
  • nausea,
  • vomiting.

Specific symptoms

  • A reddish-purple rash protruding above the surface of the skin, the elements of which resemble a star
  • The disease begins very acutely (you can often define a specific time (hour) when the person became ill)
  • You should start treatment within 24 hours while the person is conscious. Otherwise, he may get into a coma.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, among other things, can affect the brain. Children, the elderly, and people suffering from immunodeficiency are more likely to get sick.

The symptomatology of the onset of the disease is not pronounced. More often, it is general weakness, malaise, lack of appetite, headache and irritability, body temperature is subfebrile (the temperature rises for a long time in the range of 37.1 – 38 ° C.). Subsequently, “usual” meningeal symptoms join.

After that, you may see neurological disorders – paresis and paralysis of the facial nerve, oculomotor muscles, dizziness. Against the background of neurological disorders, mental disorders occur.

Viral and prion infections

There is a huge variety of viruses that cause acute encephalitis (mosquito, tick-borne, epidemic). In general, they differ in vectors and geography of distribution.

Focal symptomatology occurs against the background of “general infectious manifestations”, these are:

  • paresis
  • respiratory muscle paralysis
  • paralysis of the limbs,
  • paralysis of the facial muscles, etc.

Rabies and slow viral brain infections can be a huge danger, and therefore, they are given special attention.

Rabies

Almost all mammals can suffer from rabies. The source of brain infection is usually dogs, wolves, foxes, and this dangerous infection is transmitted through the bite of infected animals to humans.

Symptoms:

  • hydro and aerophobia
  • convulsions
  • attacks of aggressive behavior.

Emergency vaccine prophylaxis after a bite is the only way to recover; therefore, it is forbidden to wait for the first symptoms of the disease to develop since this can only mean that the person can no longer be saved.

Slow infections 

Slow infections are viral neuroinfections that have the ability to stay asymptomatic for a long time in the human nervous tissue, with the subsequent development of the disease.

Scientists have deduced four main signs that distinguish slow infections:

  • an unusually long (months and years) incubation period;
  • slowly progressive nature of the course;
  • unusual damage to organs and tissues;
  • the inevitability of a fatal outcome.

The causative agents of the virus are rubella and measles. For reasons not completely clear, these viruses, after suffering a disease, can remain in the cells of the brain and, after 4 or more years, cause the disease. 

Both viruses cause panencephalitis with similar symptoms:

  • Personality change with the development of dementia
  • Gradual paralysis of all striated muscles.

Unfortunately, even with treatment, the consequences of these neuroinfections are always the same – a lethal outcome.

Parasitic infections and the encephalitis

Parasitic infections and the encephalitis

Let’s take an example with toxoplasmosis, which is a parasitic disease characterized by the possibility of intrauterine infection, damage to the nervous system, eyes, skeletal muscles, and heart muscles, and enlargement of lymph nodes, liver, and spleen.

For the causative agent of this disease, man is an intermediate host, and the main one is cats. In a normal state of immunity, the disease does not manifest itself in any way, but if a person suffers from immunodeficiency, then there may be such variants of the disease:

  • encephalopathy, with the development of delirium, confusion up to coma;
  • meningoencephalitis, with all its classic manifestations;
  • toxoplasma brain abscess, which is manifested by general infectious symptoms, focal disorders, depending on the location, convulsions, impaired consciousness.

The most severe consequences of toxoplasmosis are in pregnant women, as it causes underdevelopment of the fetal brain.

Diagnostics

In order to diagnose neuroinfection, including the brain, a set of measures is used:

  • general analysis of blood and urine;
  • blood chemistry test;
  • a blood test for antibodies to viral, bacterial, and other agents;
  • imaging methods – MRI.

Encephalitis treatment

During the treatment of encephalitis, it is important:

  • stop the process of infection with antiviral drugs;
  • control any immediate complications, including fever, dehydration, epilepsy;
  • prevent the development of long-term complications.

Most patients are hospitalized and admitted to intensive care units. Oxygen masks are worn to aid breathing. The body is fed through the feeding tubes.

With an infectious type of encephalitis, antiviral agents are used. The sooner drug therapy is prescribed, the lower the risk of death.

The post-infectious type of the disease is treated with drugs of the corticosteroid group. High dosages are prescribed. The number of days of admission is determined depending on the severity of the disease and the patient’s general condition. Corticosteroids calm the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Autoimmune encephalitis is treated with:

  • corticosteroids;
  • plasmapheresis;
  • immunoglobulin therapy.
  • additionally, immunosuppressants may be prescribed.

Chronic encephalitis of the subacute type can only be covered up. In this case, death occurs within 1-2 years after diagnosis. In such situations, antiviral treatment is prescribed.

If you have the first symptoms or suspect that you have a brain infection after our overview of brain encephalitis, do not postpone a visit to the doctor. An experienced neurologist will prescribe the best treatment and help you stay healthy.

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Lone Star Neurology
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Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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