Bacterial Meningitis Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the membranes that protect the spinal cord and the brain. Meningitis Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain. Most cases of meningitis are caused by viruses; bacterial meningitis is rare. Meningococcal Vaccine for Teens The meningococcal conjugate vaccine prevents meningococcal infection, which can affect the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) BSE is a cattle disease, and vCJD is the equivalent disease in humans. Both are fatal brain diseases. Researchers believe that people become infected by eating beef contaminated with BSE. Cerebral Abscess A cerebral abscess is a pocket of material in the brain that includes pus, microorganisms that are causing the infection, and cells from the immune system. It is sometimes called a brain abscess. Encephalitis Encephalitis is a term used to describe inflammation of the brain. The inflammation causes the brain to swell, which leads to changes in a person's neurologic condition, including mental confusion and seizures. Herpes Meningoencephalitis If both the meninges and the brain appear to be infected, the condition is called meningoencephalitis. Epidural Abscess An epidural abscess is an infection that forms in the space between the skull bones and the brain lining (intracranial epidural abscess) or in the space between the bones of the spine and the lining membrane of the spinal cord (spinal epidural abscess). Neurological Complications of HIV As HIV and AIDS battle your immune system, your central nervous system is also affected. HIV and AIDS both cause a number of neurological complications, particularly if HIV goes untreated and is allowed to progress to AIDS. Poliomyelitis In about one in 200 cases, people who have polio become paralyzed. The paralysis usually affects the legs, and it is permanent. Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a common viral infection of the nerves, which results in a painful rash or small blisters on an area of skin anywhere on the body. Prion Diseases Prion diseases can affect both humans and animals and are sometimes transmitted to humans by infected meat products. The most common form of prion disease that affects humans is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).