Infections causing kidney disease

Infections elsewhere in the body can cause kidney disease. The early effects of these infections occur elsewhere.

Bacterial infection – the most famous of these is post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis., which can occur after a throat or other infection with Worldwide this is one of the most common causes of glomerulonephritis, but it mainly affects children, usually gets better on its own eventually. It is rare in developed countries, where it may occur in older people and be less likely to recover quickly. You can get a similar nephritis with some other infections. More about post infection glomerulonephritis.

Glomerulonephritis with other bacterial infections – infected lines, heart valves, and rarely some other infections can cause glomerulonephritis. In developed countries, these are probably more common than Streptococcal infections as a cause of kidney disease. They can easily be confused with other diseases including vasculitis and cancer.

Hepatitis – Hepatitis B can cause Membranous Nephropathy and sometimes other types. Hepatitis C typically causes MPGN (another type of glomerulonephritis) or cryoglobulinaemia, which is one cause of vasculitis. Both respond best to anti-virus treatment.

HIV– can cause several different types of kidney disease. Some of these may be due to infections or autoimmunity caused by the infection, rather than the HIV infection itself. More about HIV and the kidney (link to follow).

Malariacan cause acute kidney injury in severe infections, and is sometimes thought to be responsible for glomerulonephritis. Probably there are often alternative explanations.

Schistosomiasis – is a tiny parasite infection caught in fresh water, usually in Africa. At first it infects the bladder. Over years it can cause scarring to the bladder and ureters, and this may cause kidney damage. Chronic infections may rarely cause glomerulonephritis. More info on schistosomiasis.

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