Viruses and microorganisms sometimes invade the body, infecting various organs and causing everything from mild disturbances to serious problems. Bacterial organisms are often to blame, but animal parasites and fungi can also cause infection. Neurological infections occur when these viruses and organisms invade the nervous system.

Symptoms of Infection

Pain, swelling, redness, impaired function and fever are all characteristics of an infection. There may also be heat at the site of the infected area. In the case of some viral infections, drowsiness, confusion and convulsions may occur.

Types of Neurological Infections

The most common neurological infections are:

  • Encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can be caused by either bacteria or virus
  • Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, which can be caused by either bacteria or virus
  • HIV, a viral infection that causes AIDS and gradually destroys the body's immune system

Other neurological infections include:

  • Fungal infections
  • Parasitic infections
  • Prion diseases
  • Bacterial infections such as Lyme disease, tuberculosis, syphilis
  • Brain abscess

Viral Infections

Viruses may reach the brain either through the bloodstream or, in the case of rabies, by spreading along the peripheral nerves. The diseases caused by viral infections can be grouped into two categories -- acute diseases and chronic diseases.

While acute viral diseases come on quickly, chronic viral conditions have long incubation periods. Their symptoms develop slowly and follow a progressive, fatal course.

The most common diseases caused by acute viral infections are encephalitis, flaccid paralysis, aseptic meningitis, post infectious and encephalomyelitis. The most common diseases caused by chronic viral infections are subacute-sclerosing panencephalitis, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, retrovirus disease and spongiform encephalopathies.

Why Come to UMMC for the Treatment of Neurological Infections?

The neurologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center have extensive experience in treating a variety of neurological infections. As a tertiary Medical Center, the Department of Neurology receives many complex neurological referrals.

Each case of neurological disease and infection requires the expertise of seasoned neurologists and highly skilled medical professionals from numerous specialties. These professionals decide collectively on a course of treatment for each patient after considering all aspects of the patient's condition.