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Infections of the central nervous system 

Infections of the central nervous system
Infections of the central nervous system

Peter Davey

, Mark Wilcox

, William Irving

, and Guy Thwaites

Page of

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date: 03 December 2020

Infections of the central nervous system include meningitis, encephalitis, and brain abscess and can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. All infections of the central nervous system are serious, with the exception of viral meningitis which is usually self-limiting. Many infections, notably bacterial meningitis and brain abscess, will prove fatal unless diagnosed and treated promptly. Streptococcus pneumonia, Neisseria meningitidis, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis. In the neonate, Escherichia coli and group B streptococci predominate. Treatment requires high-dose parenteral antibiotic, such as penicillin or ceftriaxone, tailored to the particular pathogen. Viral encephalitis caused by herpes simplex virus must be treated early with intravenous aciclovir to reduce the risk of death or brain injury. Brain abscesses vary by site and often have a polymicrobial cause; management requires coordination of radiological, neurosurgical, and antibiotic expertise.

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