CNS infectious diseases

Last revised by Cameron Spence on 29 Aug 2023

This article aims to be a collection of articles that represent central nervous system infectious (CNS) diseases


By organism

The organisms involved in CNS infections vary depending on the specific location of infection. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and prions can all cause CNS infections.

See related articles below for a comprehensive list of organisms and their respective infections.

By location

Infections can involve any part of the CNS, including the meninges, ventricular system, brain parenchyma, cerebellum, brainstem, and spinal cord. Often, multiple parts of the CNS are involved at the same time (e.g. in meningoencephalitis).

See related articles below for a list of regions of the CNS which may become infected.

By route of transmission

There are numerous methods by which an infection may spread to the CNS, such as:

  • hematogenous spread

    • e.g. bacteremia as a result of distant infection

  • direct spread

  • direct introduction

    • e.g. iatrogenic or traumatic

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: subgaleal and epidural abscesses
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  • Case 2: subdural empyema
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  • Case 3: leptomeningitis
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  • Case 4: ventriculitis
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  • Case 5: cerebritis
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  • Case 6: parenchymal abscess
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