The brain and its surrounding structures can become infected by a large spectrum of germs. Bacteria and viruses are the most common offenders. Parasites, fungi, and other organisms can infect the central nervous system. A brain abscess is usually caused by infection with either bacteria or fungi. If the immune system is unable to kill an infection, it will try to limit its spread by using healthy tissue to form an abscess, to stop the pus from infecting other tissue.
Infections of the brain are rare because the body has evolved a number of defenses to protect this vital organ. One of these is the blood-brain barrier, a thick membrane that filters out impurities from the blood before allowing it into your brain. However, in some cases, germs can get through these defenses and infect the brain. Although the exact location of the original infection can’t always be identified.
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Infection In The Skull
In most cases, the brain abscess occurs as a complication of a nearby infection in the skull, such as:
A persistent middle ear infection
Infection of the bone behind the eye
This used to be a major cause of brain abscesses, but because of improved treatments for infections, a brain abscess is now a rare complication of these kinds of infections.
Infection Through The Bloodstream
Infections spread through the blood are thought to account for around one in four cases of brain abscesses. People with a weakened immune system have a higher risk of developing a brain abscess from a blood-borne infection. This is because their immune system may not be capable of fighting off the initial infection.
Have a medical condition that weakens your immune system – such as HIV or AIDS
Receive medical treatment known to weaken the immune system – such as chemotherapy
Have an organ transplant and take drugs to prevent your body from rejecting the new organ
The most commonly reported infections and health conditions that may cause a brain abscess are:
A type of congenital heart where the heart is unable to carry enough oxygen around the body; this lack of a regular oxygen supply makes the body more vulnerable to infection
A rare condition in which abnormal connections develop between blood vessels inside the lungs; this can allow bacteria to get into the blood and, eventually, the brain
A dental abscess or treatment for tooth decay
Lung infections,such as pneumonia or bronchiectasis
Infections of the heart,such as endocarditis
Infections of the abdomen,such as peritonitis
Pelvic infections,such as infection of the bladder lining
Infection After A Head Injury
Direct trauma to the skull can also lead to a brain abscess and is thought to be responsible for 1 in 10 cases.The most commonly reported causes include:
A skull fracture is caused by penetrating injury to the head
As gunshot or shrapnel wound
Frequently Asked Questions:
An infected person may have encephalitis-like symptoms with confusion and delirium. Coma, seizures, paralysis, and other signs of neurological loss are found in more serious forms. Most people recover in a few days or weeks with no long-term problems.
The most common diseases caused by acute viral infections are encephalitis, flaccid paralysis, aseptic and postinfectious meningitis, and encephalomyelitis.
The swelling of the brain can last from a few days to two to three months. After this, most people find that they fully recover from their symptoms in two to three months.