Curbing Infectious Disease Is The Pathway To Stopping Resulting Epileptic Seizure
Although having various causes, epilepsy most commonly results from infectious diseases, especially in underdeveloped nations that don’t have the proper vaccinations or medical care to prevent the spread of infection. Infections that occur in the brain and spinal cord can both be acute, meaning that they can result in immediate and non-lasting seizures or chronic seizures called epilepsy. Diseases that are associated with epilepsy are HIV, neurocysticercosis, tuberculosis, cerebral toxoplasmosis and cerebral malaria. The infections themselves allow openings for diseases that can lead to chronic health conditions. If these could be prevented, millions could be saved worldwide.
The most Common illnesses that result in Epilepsy Include:
Meningoencephalitis or Bacterial Meningitis
The most common etiology that bacterial meningitis follows is meningococcus, Haemophilus influenza B, and pneumococcus. Seizures typically result from these illnesses due to substantially high fevers or complications such as cerebrates or cerebral infarction and subdural collections. The best way to prevent the occurrence of epilepsy induction for these types of diseases is through immunization programs targeted to reduce infection.
There are several infections that fall under the encephalitis infection category. Herpes simplex virus Type 1 is the leading cause of seizures of this type. Those infected typically show signs of seizures and acute encephalopathy. In 50% of the cases, epilepsy occurs. Other illnesses within viral encephalitis include influenza B, human herpes virus 6, rubella, varicella, measles, and mumps, all of which are currently vaccinated for in industrialized nations. Other regions such as Japan and Asia have other viral etiologies that include enterovirus 71 and, in the US, West Nile Virus.
In children and adults with measles infection, sub-acute sclerosing panencephalitis, a chronic and rare progressive chronic encephalitis will surface, but typically before the age of two. The consequence is a slow progression of cognitive abilities, ataxia, seizures, and photosensitivities.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Plasmodium falciparum can lead to neurological complications for patients, with the most prevalent cause being epilepsy and seizures. In some instances, cerebral malaria may lead to a coma and be fatal, especially in younger ages. Also a problem in Asia, similar effects are seen.
The biggest cause of epilepsy in tuberculosis infection is due to infarction and cerebral vasculitis. Those who are at highest risk are young children and those who are infected, likewise, with HIV. Epileptic seizures can be a consequence of infection, being easily identifiable as lesions that show as rings on neuro-imaging films.
HIV infection can result in primary cerebral infection, leading to seizures, especially in young children. Related to the CNS, most seizures in adults are related to toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, cryptococcal meningitis or secondary neoplastic lesions.
Neurocysticercosis is a type of infection that happens from the ingestion of contaminated food. The specific toxin is Tania solium eggs. After being ingested, they hatch in the intestines, and the larvae then can migrate to the CNS. It is there that they form cysts that have four phases. The four phases are asymptomatic, degeneration and inflammation, granular nodular, and calcification. Seizures of this nature are typically related to the degeneration of the cysts, although they can begin at any point during the disease progression. More prevalent in developing nations such as India, Africa, and Latin-America, if an individual is infected, it is possible for them to transmit it to other regions.
The diagnosis of neurocysticercosis is highly complicated. There are no identifying tests for diagnosis. The only means of diagnosing an individual is through case history and exposure likelihood. Imaging and laboratory results are helpful, but they are not always pathognomic. Certain defining characteristics such as eccentric scolex must be seen to be confident that the patient has been infected. As the cyst goes through the degradation process, the contrast from imaging may help to show lesions. Enzyme-linked immune transfer blotting is one of the most highly consistent ways to diagnose this type of infection, but it is more sensitive in the early stages. Unfortunately, without any signs, most people don’t get the treatment they need until the disease has progressed and it is harder to diagnose.
Caused by Toxoplasma Gondi, toxoplasmosis is found around the globe. Typically asymptomatic, the disease can lay dormant for extended periods of time. Having Cerebral Toxoplasmosis is highly risky for immunosuppressed individuals, like those who have HIV, as the disease can lead to epilepsy. The way to diagnose this disease is through imaging. Edema and ring-enhancing lesions on the brain appear in most patients, often involving the basal ganglia.
Other Lesser Known Infections
Other infections that are lesser seen and diagnosed are Lyme disease, schistosomiasis, and toxocariasis.
Most commonly transmitted in pregnancy, CMV poses a problem because there are typically no symptoms associated with transmittance. If the fetus is exposed after the 20th week of conception, it can lead to severe malformations, schizencephaly and intracranial calcification of the brain. As many as 90% of those who have been infected are completely asymptomatic at birth, which poses a problem both for diagnosis and treatment. Some of the infants will only show signs of hearing loss later on in life. In 10%, however, early symptoms may be seen such as hepatitis, microcephaly, anaemia, chorioretinitis, thrombocytopenia and neurological and hearing impairment that can range from mild to severely debilitating. Seizures may begin in the first month of the life, during the first year, and, in rare instances, later on. Traditional treatment is gancyclovir, but unless initiated early enough, the damage may be irreversible.
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