I decided to do Brain Infections first in the Brain Pathology section because I have always been interested in how infectious processes work, and despite the fact that my university degree didn’t have majors per se, I considered microbiology my major.
The brain itself rarely gets infected due to the presence of the blood brain barrier, however, when it does get infected (most likely due to inflammation which causes the barrier to become compromised) it is notoriously difficult to treat. Only certain types of antibiotics are able to pass through the barrier, but in most cases, they would be ineffective anyway as most of the infectious agents that can infest the brain are viral in nature: antibiotics only attack bacterial infections. However, that does not mean that the brain does not get attacked only by viruses: all types of infectious agents could potentially harm the brain, albeit bacteria tend to attack the meninges and cause meningitis rather than infect the brain tissue itself. Infection of the brain tissue itself is known as encephalitis.
I’ll be talking about each of these types separately in different pages and give a brief introduction to each of the types of infectious agents: viruses can be seen here, and parasites and prions can be seen here.
Types of Viruses (Viral Encephalitis)
- Herpes Simplex Viruses (types 1 and 2)
- Herpes Zoster aka Varicella-Zoster Virus
- Rabies Virus
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Types of Fungi (Fungal Encephalitis)
- Candida albicans
- Aspergillis fumigatus
- Cryptococcus neoformans
- Histoplasma capsulatum
- Coccidioides immitis
- Blastomyces dermatidis
Types of Parasites/Prions
- Toxoplasma gondii
- Tenia solium
- Naegleria sp.
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and variants