What is a brain abscess?
A brain abscess is a rare, life-threatening infection of the brain. Infectious agents such as bacteria, fungi or viruses enter the brain's tissue and cause a pus-filled swelling to develop (an abscess).
What are the signs and symptoms?
The symptoms of a brain abscess can develop quickly or slowly, depending on individual circumstances.
In around two thirds of people, symptoms were present for two weeks or less, before they worsened to such an extent that hospital admission was required.
Common symptoms include:
- changes in mental state, such as confusion or irritability
- problems with nerve function, such as muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, or slurred speech
- seizures (fits)
- nausea and vomiting
- stiff neck
- changes in vision, such as blurring, greying of vision, or double vision (due to the abscess placing pressure on the optic nerve).