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Meningitis – Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Measures and Prognosis

The head ache is so typical that it should alert you to the chance of meningitis. Then you definitely should seek out other confirmatory signals, and discovering even one should be enough for you to seek urgent medical attention. The headache is due to inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, due to an illness by a virus or a bacterium.

What is It?

  • In meningitis, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges, are inflamed.
  • Viral meningitis is more common and generally not as serious as bacterial meningitis.
  • While the bacterial type is less common, it can be life threatening.
  • Both viral and bacterial meningitis can happen at any age but bacterial meningitis occurs primarily in children and viral meningitis is most common in young adults.
  • There’s a type of meningitis now seen in people who have AIDS.
  • In the UK, several hundred instances of bacterial meningitis and about 500 instances of viral meningitis are diagnosed each year, although the true prevalence of viral meningitis is believed to be a good deal higher than this.

What Are The Causes?


A variety of viruses cause meningitis. One of the most common are enteroviruses, including the coxsackie virus that cause sore throats or diarrhoea also, and more infrequently, the virus that causes mumps. Viral meningitis will happen in small outbreaks, most usually in summer.


Bacterial meningitis usually happens for no detectable reason in a healthy kid or adolescent. Less frequently, bacterial meningitis may occur as a complication of an illness elsewhere in the body that distributes to the meninges through the bloodstream.

  • The bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common source of meningitis in adults in the West, can spread from the lungs, where it causes pneumonia, to the meninges.
  • The commonest cause in unvaccinated Kids is Haemophilus influenzae type B.
  • Another bacterium, called Neisseria meningitidis, causes meningococcal meningitis. There are three kinds of these bacteria. Type B is the most common in the US, while type C causes 40 percent of instances in the UK. Many individuals take the meningitis germ in the rear of their throats, but for unknown reasons just a tiny fraction of them develop meningitis.
  • The bacterium that causes tuberculosis may also infect the meninges.

Bacterial meningitis generally happens as single instances only. Nevertheless, there may be little outbreaks, particularly in institutions including schools and faculties. This type of meningitis is most common during the wintertime.

People that have a diminished immune system as an outcome of an existing sickness or a specific treatment, for example individuals with HIV disease or those having chemotherapy, are at increased risk of developing meningitis.

Differences between viral and bacterial meningitis

Meningitis typeWho is at risk?SymptomsDiagnosisTreatment
  • Anyone, but more common in young adults
  • Occurs in small outbreaks
  • Most common in summer
Symptoms may develop quite slowly over a few days. Severe headache, fever, stiff neck, dislike of bright lightBy lumbar puncture; CT scan or MRI to exclude brain swellingOnce a lumbar puncture has excluded bacterial meningitis, no treatment is usually needed beyond analgesics for pain relief.
  • Anyone, but more common in children
  • Usually single cases
  • Most common in winter
Symptoms may develop rapidly, over the course of a few hours. Severe headache, fever, stiff neck, dislike of bright light, rash that does not fade when pressedBy lumbar puncture; CT scan or MRI to exclude raised pressure in brainIf confirmed by lumbar puncture, antibiotics are continued and patients may be monitored in an intensive care unit. Anticonvulsant and other drugs may be given as necessary

How Does Meningitis Begin?

  • Initially, meningitis may create obscure flu-like symptoms, including light fever and aches and pains, which worsen.
  • Symptoms are the most serious in bacterial meningitis and may grow quickly, often within several hours.
  • The symptoms of viral meningitis may take a day or two to grow.
  • In tuberculosis meningitis, symptoms grow slowly and may take several weeks to become pronounced.

What Are The Primary Symptoms?

Symptoms include:

  • serious head ache
  • temperature
  • stiff neck
  • dislike of bright light
  • in meningococcal meningitis, a rash of flat, reddish purple areas, changing in size from pinheads to big patches, which don’t fade when pressed by a glass.
  • Unless prompt treatment is given, bacterial meningitis may lead to:
  • seizures, drowsiness and coma
  • the collection of pus to form a brain abscess, leading to compaction of nearby tissue.

What Might Be Done?

If meningitis is suspected, immediate medical attention and admission to hospital is required. The first priority will be to begin intravenous antibiotics and then to find out which kind of meningitis, if any, is present.

  • Antibiotics, given intravenously, are began
  • A sample of fluid will be removed from around the spinal cord (lumbar puncture) and examined for signs of disease.
  • CT scan or MRI are often done to search for a brain abscess.
  • If the evaluations exclude bacterial meningitis, individuals are generally permitted to go home providing they’re well enough. There’s no specific treatment for viral meningitis, but drugs may be given to alleviate symptoms, like painkillers for headache.
  • If bacterial meningitis is supported by lumbar puncture results, antibiotics are continued for at least weekly.
  • If meningitis is discovered to be due to tuberculosis bacteria, antituberculous drugs will be given.
  • In cases of bacterial meningitis, continuous monitoring in an intensive care unit is frequently needed.
  • Intravenous fluids, anticonvulsant drugs and drugs to reduce inflammation in the brain, for example corticosteroids, may be given.

What is The Prognosis?

Healing from viral meningitis is generally complete within 1-2 weeks. It may take weeks or months to make an entire recuperate) 7 from bacterial meningitis. Sometimes, long term issues may happen, like diminished hearing or memory impairment because of damage to part of the brain. About 1 in 10 individuals with bacterial meningitis expires despite treatment. Departures mostly occur in babies and aged individuals.

Can it be prevented?

Individuals in close contact with someone with meningococcal meningitis, for example relatives, are generally given antibiotics for two days as a precaution. This treatment kills the meningococcal bacteria which could show up at the rear of the throat and prevents their spread to others.

Kids are now routinely vaccinated against H. influenzae type b, an important cause of meningitis in youth, and against N. meningitidis type C (meningitis C).

Individuals travelling to high risk regions, like Africa, may must be vaccinated against other kinds of meningococcal bacteria, thus consult your physician.

The Meningitis C Vaccine

This is a vaccine against group C meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia which gives long lasting protection to infants as young as two months old.

How effective is it?

Scientists say the new vaccine is at least 95 Percentage effective against group C meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia, but it gives zero protection against group B. About 40 percent of instances in the UK are due to group C, but group B causes most of the remainder. There isn’t any vaccine to prevent group B disease, so it’s still essential to be alert to the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.

When Should I Be On The Consider Meningitis?

Instances of meningitis and septicaemia increase Extremely ever)’ winter. The purpose of the vaccination programme will be to prevent departures from the disease by protecting as many of those individuals who are most at risk as potential before winter comes.

Who Is In Danger Of Meningitis?

Infants and adolescents in the age groups have the greatest threat.

How Do People Get The Meningitis C Vaccine?

  • Infants and toddlers receive the vaccine together with their other routine immunizations. Anyone who hasn’t had the vaccine and believes they should have it should contact their GP.

Is The Meningitis C Vaccine Safe?

  • The meningitis C vaccine was tested on over 6,000 individuals in the UK and 21,000 individuals abroad and has been demonstrated to be safe and to give long term resistance.
  • No serious side effects happened during security testing. Some infants and kids have had a minimal temperature, an unsettled night, or redness and swelling of the skin where they were injected, but the opportunity of having these light responses is no greater than with other childhood vaccines. Older kids and adolescents occasionally complain of headache. Vomiting has been reported in some infants, but this is more likelv due to other vaccines that have been given at exactly the same time.
  • The vaccine isn’t “live” and cannot cause even a moderate type of meningitis or septicaemia.
  • There are not any new ingredients in the vaccine. All the ingredients of the new vaccine have already been given to millions of kids over several years as parts of other vaccines, without causing any damage.

Are There Any Individuals Who Shouldn’t Have The Vaccine?

  • Individuals that have had a serious response to the clear meningococcal vaccine or Hib or diphtheria vaccines shouldn’t have the vaccine.
  • Vaccination should be postponed in anyone who’s sick with a high temperature.
  • It hasn’t been examined in pregnant women, and although there isn’t any reason to imply it’s not safe during pregnancy, girls who believe they might be pregnant should talk to their physician or nurse about it.

Is There A Problem With “Multiple” Vaccines?

Some Barents might be worried that having DTP, Hib, polio and the new vaccine collectively will overload infants’ immature immune systems.

  • There’s no risk in having these vaccines at the exact same time. During trials of the new vaccine, scientists demonstrated the vaccines couldn’t interact in any manner that could hurt infants and kids.
  • These vaccines don’t “overload” the immune system. Vaccines work by arousing a reaction from the immune system, but getting all the routine vaccinations and the new C- strain vaccine at the exact same time is less of a challenge to the immune system than regular occurrences like a baby getting a throat infection or a toddler falling and scraping a knee.
  • Routine vaccinations are timed to shield infants when they want it most.
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