Research, Scientific Breakthroughs, & Caregiver Tips
What is a Brain Abscess?
A brain abscess, sometimes also called a cerebral abscess, is an infection in the brain usually caused by bacteria or other microorganisms. The infection creates a pocket within the brain tissue that’s filled with bacteria, white blood cells from the patient’s immune system, pus, and fluid. As the pocket of infection grows, it can put pressure on sensitive brain tissue and cause damage. It can also block blood flow to other parts of the brain, causing even more widespread damage. In the worst cases, the condition can be fatal.
Symptoms of a brain abscess include:
- Dull, Achy, Persistent Headache
- Fever and/or chills
- Sleepiness, fatigue, or loss of consciousness
- Confusion or disorientation
- Neck stiffness
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Speech difficulties
- Vision difficulties
- Movement difficulties
- Changes in personality
Most often, the symptoms develop within days or weeks as the abscess grows, but sometimes the symptoms aren’t noticeable until the abscess is well advanced. Some symptoms such as fever and chills may occur early in the course of an infection, even before an abscess begins putting pressure on the brain tissue.
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