Neuroimaging of emergent and reemergent infections

Author(s): Rafael Lourenco do Carmo

Brain infectious diseases are a major health problem in many regions around the globe. Emergent infections are diseases observed in a human host for the first time, whereas reemergent infections that have occurred in humans before, but are observed in new regions, or those that reappear after being considered controlled or eliminated. Many different factors are responsible for the rise in the incidence of those infections. Population growth increase in international travelling, greater contact with animal reservoirs, and recently the anti-vaccination movement as a social phenomenon that happen mostly among the middle and upper classes in developed countries. A number of different conditions that can affect the brain and spine have emerged or re-emerged during the last decade. Some of the most striking examples are measles, influenza, syphilis and some arboviral infections. A few parasites can also be culprit to brain diseases. It is paramount that the radiologist is familiar with the main imaging patterns caused by those diseases to help reaching the correct diagnosis without delaying treatment.