Infectious and immunological diseases of the nervous system
The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and the nerves that control the muscles and pass on sensation to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). In general, the nervous system is well protected from external influences by the skull, vertebrae and the immune system. However, it can happen that a virus, bacterium or parasite will by-pass the immune system and causes an infection of the nervous system.
Examples of infections of the nervous system are meningitis (inflammation of the membrane lining the brain), neuroborreliosis (Lyme disease), brain abscess or viral encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). HIV/AIDS or syphilis are other infections that can affect he brain and nerves. Furthermore, tropical diseases like rabies, malaria or West-Nile fever can also infect the nervous system.
Immunological diseases of the brain are those that results in inflammation without the presence of a microorganism such as a bacterium or virus. Due to disregulation of the immune system, parts of the body will be targeted by inflammatory cells. Examples of inflammatory diseases are neurosarcoidosis or Sjögren’s disease, which may cause inflammation and damage in peripheral nerves and the brain.