What are Neuroinfections?

Your body can sometimes be attacked by harmful bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms which cause diseases or infections. These diseases can vary from mild disturbances to life-threatening problems. Microbes can affect different parts of your body, including the nervous system. After invading the nervous system, these organisms multiply, leading to what is called a neuroinfection. This infection can affect different parts of the nervous system, from the spinal cord to the brain, including nerves and muscles. Different microorganisms cause different neuroinfections.

The most common neuroinfectious diseases include:

  • Encephalitis and meningitis, where the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain become inflamed. Often caused by viral or bacterial infections and can lead to disability or death.
  • HIV-associated neurodegeneration, a neurological condition brought on by HIV infection that is immune to antiretroviral therapy.
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a viral neuroinfection that leads to loss of memory, coordination and language ability.
  • HTLV 1 myelopathy hereditary spastic paraparesis, a progressive disease affecting the spinal cord which results in weak and stiff legs.
  • Neurosarcoidosis, a chronic inflammatory neuroinfectious disease characterized by headaches and facial weakness.
  • Transverse myelitis, a neuroinfection that causes the sides of the spinal cord to become inflamed, leading to pain, paralysis, weakness, bladder and bowel dysfunctions and sensory problems.

How are Neuroinfections treated?

Diagnosing neuroinfectionscan be very tricky. The most common forms of treatment include antibacterial and antiviral medications which may be combined with anticonvulsive or anti-inflammatory medicines. Neuroinfection treatment is often complex and involves evolving and innovative techniques. Currently, there are no cures for these conditions. Talk to your neurologist if you or someone you know is suffering from a suspected case of

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