What Is Tuberculosis of the Brain?

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Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that usually attacks the lungs, but has the potential to affect other parts of the body. When tuberculosis infects the brain, it results in inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain and is called meningitis tuberculosis.

Microscopic view of Tuberculosis.
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Tuberculosis spreads through the air when an infected person or a carrier of the disease yawns, laughs, sneezes, coughs or speaks, reports the Mayo Clinic. Once tuberculosis enters your respiratory or digestive system, it has the potential to spread to the brain, causing meningitis tuberculosis.

Scanned images of the human brain.
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Symptoms of meningitis tuberculosis usually begin with low-grade fevers, aches and pains and irritability, explains the Meningitis Research Foundation. Later symptoms include fever, listlessness, loss of appetite, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, sensitivity to sunlight, severe headache and a stiff neck, according to the U.S. National Library of Health.

Symptoms can begin with a fever.
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The initial symptoms of meningitis tuberculosis last approximately two to eight weeks. Treatment of the infection typically lasts a year, reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Symptoms can last for several weeks.
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Doctors usually prescribe a combination of several anti-tuberculosis drugs to treat meningitis tuberculosis, including isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol, cycloserine, ethionamide and streptomycin.

Doctor writing prescription.
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Approximately 70 to 85 percent of patients survive meningitis tuberculosis, but of those that recover up to 25 percent have some degree of brain damage from the condition, explains the Meningitis Research Institute.

Brain damage may occur from the condition.
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