Overview of Infectious Diseases

An infection is an illness caused by the invasion of a virus or other microorganism—like bacteria, parasites, and fungi. Infections can range in severity from mild to very serious, and can affect any part of the body, including the nervous system.

Classical symptoms of infectious diseases are pain, swelling, redness, heat (either fever or warmth at the sight of the infection), and impaired function.

When an infection invades the nervous system, it is referred to as a neurological infection. The most common neurological infections are meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord; encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain; and complications caused by HIV, which also affects other parts of the body.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 02 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 04 Sep 2014