Essentially, a SEA is an infection inside of the spine. While treatable if diagnosed early, if diagnosis is delayed, a SEA often will result in severe nerve damage and, in some cases, paralysis.
SEAs can develop at any age. However, the majority of people who develop a SEA are between ages 30 and 60. Men more than women have a higher statistical chance of developing a SEA. In addition to age and male gender, the other risk factors for SEAs are diabetes, MRSA infections, infection of nearby spinal bone structures and soft tissue, recent epidural injections, IV drug use, alcoholism, malignancy, and recent spinal trauma and surgery.