Maybe it’s the Halloween spirit and all the zombies I’ve been seeing everywhere, but this week I can’t help but write about two very different kinds of microbes that infect the brain. I’ve already covered a virus that causes encephalitis and meningitis, and many bacteria can cause septic meningitis. However, the two organisms in the news this week that are causing fatal brain infections are neither a virus or bacteria, and much less common. The first is Naegleria fowleri, a warm-water dwelling amoeba; the second is Exserohilum rostratum, a nearly ubiquitous fungus found in the soil and on plants. These organisms normally live in very different environments but both have the unusual ability to infect the brain under very specific circumstances with fatal outcomes.
Click through to read more about these miniature brain-invaders and how they got into human brains in the first place. Continue reading