Meningitis (also called meningitis of the spine, spinal meningitis) is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, usually due to the spread of infection.
What is a meningitis ?
Meningitis (also called meningitis of the spine, spinal meningitis) is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, usually due to the spread of infection. Swelling associated with meningitis often causes "markers" of the signs and symptoms of this condition, including headache, fever, and stiff neck in any patient older than 2 years of age.
Is meningitis contagious ?
Most cases of meningitis are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial and fungal infections can also lead to meningitis. Depending on the cause of the infection, meningitis can resolve on its own in a few weeks - or it can be a life-threatening emergency.
If you suspect that someone in your family has meningitis, seek medical attention right away. Early treatment can prevent serious complications.
It's easy to confuse the early meningitis signs and symptoms with the flu. Meningitis signs and symptoms can develop over a few hours or over a day or two, and in any patient older than 2 years, typically include:
Meningitis signs, meningitis symptoms
Severe headaches are not to be confused with other types of headaches.
Vomiting or nausea with a headache.
Confusion or difficulty concentrating - this may appear as an inability to maintain contact.
Drowsiness or difficulty waking up.
Sensitive to light.
Lack of attention and eating.
Skin rashes in some cases, such as in viral meningitis.
Meningitis signs in infants and young children
Infants and young children may not have the classic signs and symptoms of headache and stiff neck. Instead, signs of meningitis in this age group may include:
Excessive sleepiness or irritability.
Inactivity or stagnation.
Muscle and neck stiffness.
Infants with meningitis can be difficult to comfort, and may even cry more when picked up.
Medical attention if you have meningitis signs or symptoms:
Severe, non-stop headache.
There is no way to know what type of meningitis is without seeing a doctor and undergoing a spinal fluid test.
Viral meningitis may improve without treatment in a few days.
Bacterial meningitis (meningitis bacteria) is serious, can come on very quickly, and requires antibiotic treatment to improve your chances of recovery without serious complications. Delaying treatment for bacterial meningitis increases the risk of permanent brain damage or death. Also, bacterial meningitis can be fatal within days.
Also, talk to a doctor if a family member or person has meningitis. You may need to take medicine to prevent getting sick.
Meningitis usually results from a viral infection, but the cause can also be a bacterial infection. Less commonly, a fungal infection can cause meningitis. Because bacterial infections are the most serious and can be life-threatening, identifying the source of the infection is an important part of developing a treatment plan.
Which meningitis is contagious : Meningitis bacteria, the most serious meningitis, especially if it's meningitis meningococcal. It's spread by contact with an infected person.
Bacterial meningitis (meningitis bacteria)
Bacterial meningitis (meningitis bacteria) usually occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain and spinal cord. But it can also happen when bacteria enter the meninges directly, as a result of an ear or sinus infection or a skull fracture.
Certain strains of bacteria can cause acute meningitis. The most popular include:
Streptococcus pneumonia (pneumococcus). This bacterium is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in infants, children, and adults in the United States. It usually causes pneumonia or ear or sinusitis.
Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcal). This meningococcal bacteria is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis. Meningococcal disease usually occurs when bacteria from an upper respiratory infection enter the bloodstream. This disease is very contagious. It affects mainly adolescents and can cause local epidemics in college dormitories, boarding schools, and military bases.
Haemophilus influenza (Haemophilus). Prior to the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children. But the Hib vaccine - available as part of the childhood immunization schedule in the United States - has dramatically reduced the number of meningitis cases. When it occurs, it tends to follow an upper respiratory infection, ear infection (otitis media), or sinusitis.
Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria). These bacteria can be found almost anywhere - in soil, in dust, and in contaminated food. Contaminated foods include soft cheeses, sausages, and meats. Many wild and domestic animals also carry the bacteria. Fortunately, the healthiest people exposed to Listeria do not get sick, although pregnant women, infants, and older adults tend to be more susceptible. Listeria can cross the placental barrier, and infection during pregnancy can cause a baby to be stillborn or die soon after birth. People with weakened immune systems, either due to illness or due to effective medications, are most vulnerable.
Meningitis with rash (meningitis rash): One of the late meningitis signs that bacterial meningitis causes.
Each year, viruses cause a larger number of cases of meningitis than bacteria. Viral meningitis is usually mild and usually improves on its own within two weeks. A group called enteroviruses is responsible for about 30 percent of viral meningitis cases in the United States. Viral meningitis never has a specific virus identified as the cause.
The most common signs and symptoms of an enterovirus infection are rashes, sore throat, diarrhea, joint pain, and headache. The viruses tend to circulate in late summer and early fall. Viruses such as herpes simplex virus, La Crosse virus, West Nile virus… can also cause viral meningitis.
Chronic meningitis occurs when organisms grow slowly and invade the membrane surrounding the brain. Although unexpected, acute meningitis develops over two weeks or more. However, the signs and symptoms of chronic meningitis - headache, fever, vomiting, and psychosis - are similar to those of acute meningitis. This is a very rare type of meningitis.
Fungal meningitis is relatively common and causes chronic meningitis. It can sometimes mimic acute bacterial meningitis. Cryptococcal meningitis is a common form of fungus that affects people with immune deficiencies, such as AIDS. It is life-threatening if not treated with antifungal drugs.
Other meningitis causes
Meningitis can also be caused by non-infectious causes, such as drug allergies, certain cancers, and inflammatory diseases such as lupus.
Failure to complete a vaccination plan increases the risk of meningitis. And a few other risk factors:
The age. Most cases of viral meningitis occur in children under 5 years of age. Bacterial meningitis has also often affected children in the past. But since the mid-1980s, as a result of vaccinations that protect children, the average age at which meningitis bacteria is diagnosed has shifted from 15 months to 25 years.
Live in a community. Students living in dormitories, military base personnel, and children in boarding schools and child care facilities are at increased risk for meningitis, perhaps because the bacteria are spread through the air. contagious and tends to spread rapidly wherever groups of adolescents or young adults congregate.
Pregnancy. If you're pregnant, there's an increased risk of listeriosis, an infection caused by the bacteria Listeria, which can also cause meningitis. If listeriosis is present, the fetus is at risk.
Work with animals. People who work with domestic animals, including dairy farmers and ranchers, are at higher risk of contracting Listeria, which can lead to meningitis.
Damaged immune system. Factors that can weaken the immune system - including diabetes, AIDS, and the use of immunosuppressive drugs - also make you more susceptible to meningitis. Removing the spleen, an important part of the immune system, can also increase the risk.
Meningitis complications can be serious.
Meningitis complications can be serious if you have untreated medical conditions, risk of seizures, and permanent nerve damage including:
Hard to say.
Other complications may include:
Meningitis tests and diagnostics
Your family doctor or pediatrician can take a meningitis diagnosis based on your medical history, physical exam, and certain diagnostic tests. The doctor may check for signs of infection on the head, ears, neck, and skin along the spine. Or may undergo the following diagnostic tests:
Blood. Blood taken from a vein is sent to a laboratory and specially cultured to see if it has grown microorganisms, especially bacteria. The sample can also be placed on a slide, then examined under a microscope for bacteria.
Image. X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans of the chest, head, and sinuses can reveal swelling or inflammation. These tests can also help doctors look for diseases in other areas of the body that may be associated with meningitis.
Spinal tap. The definitive diagnosis of meningitis is usually made by analyzing a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), collected from a lumbar puncture. In people with meningitis, the cerebrospinal fluid is often low in sugar (glucose) with an increased white blood cell count and increased protein. CSF analysis can also help your doctor pinpoint the bacteria that are causing the illness. It can take up to a week to get the results. If your doctor suspects meningitis, a DNA-based, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification test may be ordered to check for the presence of the meningitis virus. This can provide results on meningitis in as little as four hours and helps to determine the appropriate treatment.
If you have chronic meningitis caused by cancer or inflammatory disease, further testing may be needed.
Meningitis treatments and drugs
The meningitis treatment depends on the type of meningitis you have.
Bacterial meningitis (meningitis bacteria)
Bacterial meningitis (meningitis bacteria) should be treated promptly with intravenous antibiotics, and cortisone-like drugs to ensure recovery and reduce the risk of complications. The antibiotic or combination of antibiotics your doctor may choose depends on the type of bacteria causing the infection. Your doctor may recommend a broad-spectrum antibiotic until the exact cause of this meningitis can be determined.
If you have bacterial meningitis, your doctor may also recommend treatments for:
Loss of water.
Sinus or mastoid infection - may require drainage. With disease, fluid accumulates between the skull and the membrane surrounding the brain, which may also require surgery.
Antibiotics cannot cure viral meningitis, and most cases improve on their own in a week or two without treatment. Treatment for mild cases of viral meningitis usually includes:
Rest in bed.
Drink lots of fluids.
Pain relievers help reduce fever and relieve body aches.
If the cause of meningitis is the herpes virus, antiviral medications are available.
Other types of meningitis
If the cause of meningitis isn't clear, your doctor may start antiretroviral therapy and antibiotics while you wait for it to be determined.
Treatments for fungal meningitis are associated with harmful side effects, and treatment should usually be postponed until testing can confirm the cause is fungal.
Non-infectious meningitis is caused by an allergic reaction, an autoimmune disease that can be treated with a cortisone medication. In some cases, no treatment may be necessary, as the problem may resolve on its own. Cancer-related meningitis requires treatment for cancer.
Meningitis is usually the result of a contagious infection. Often the bacteria or virus that can cause meningitis can be spread through coughing, sneezing, kissing, or eating utensils, sharing toothbrushes, or cigarettes. There is also an increased risk if you live or work with someone who is sick.
These steps can help prevent meningitis:
Handwashing. Wash your hands carefully, it is important to avoid contact with infectious agents. Teach children to wash their hands often, especially before eating and after using the restroom, in crowded public places, or petting animals. Wash hands including the front and back of each hand with soap and rinse thoroughly under running water.
Keep healthy. Maintain your immune system by getting enough rest, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Cover your mouth. When you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose.
If you are pregnant. Reduce your risk of listeriosis if you're pregnant by cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding cheeses made from unpasteurized milk.
Some forms of bacterial meningitis can be prevented with the following vaccinations:
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine. Children in the United States routinely receive this vaccine, as part of the recommended vaccine plan, starting at about 2 months of age. This vaccine is also recommended for certain adults, including those with sickle cell disease or AIDS and who do not have a spleen.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). This vaccine is also part of the routine immunization schedule for children under 2 years of age in the United States. In addition, it is recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 5 who are at high risk for pneumococcal disease, including children with chronic heart disease or lung disease, or cancer.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV). Older children and adults who need protection from pneumococcal bacteria can receive this vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends immunization for all adults over age 65, older adults, and children with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or polycythemia vera. sickle, and for those without a spleen.
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4). The Centers for Disease Control recommends that a single dose of MCV4 be given to children ages 11 to 12 or to any children ages 11 to 18 who have not been immunized. However, this vaccine can be given to children at high risk for bacterial meningitis or who have been in contact with an infected person. It allows the use in children 2 years old. It is also used to immunize healthy people who have entered an epidemic area but have not been previously immunized.
Meningitis vaccine side effects: Somehow, the vaccinations also have side effects. Consulting from your doctor of a suitable meningitis vaccine is absolutely needed.