Meningitis: A Rare But Serious Condition

There is a certain protective layer on the brain and spinal cord. The acute inflammation of these layers is known as Meningitis. Since it affects the brain and spinal cord, it can be life threatening, hence this condition is classified as a medical emergency. Meningitis is a notifiable disease as of 2010 approximately 420,000 deaths were estimated due to meningitis. Here we are going to discuss the types of meningitis and its symptoms with special focus on bacterial meningitis its causes, prevalence and treatment.

Meningitis: A Rare But Serious Condition

Understanding the general sign and symptom of meningitis

The meningitis signs start with severe headache. Due to increase muscle tone and stiffness victim feel to flex the neck forward passively (Nuchal rigidity). Triad of diagnostic symptoms includes sudden high fever, Nuchal rigidity, and altered mental condition. One more common Meningitis sign is an intolerance to bright light and loud sound. Other symptoms are leg pain, abnormal skin color, and cold extremities.

Types of Meningitis

The main cause of Meningitis is basically microorganism and types of meningitis are based on the agents, that may be bacteria, virus, fungus protozoa, etc. which causes it hence given name accordingly like bacterial meningitis, viral meningitis, fungal meningitis etc.

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Viral Meningitis and its treatment

The viruses which mainly cause meningitis includes, herpes simplex, virus type 2, enteroviruses, varicella zoster virus, HIV, mumps virus. There is not any specific treatment is required for the meningitis caused by most of viruses only supportive therapy is required. With conservative measures like fluid, bed rest, analgesics mild cases of viral meningitis can be treated at home. Varicella zoster virus and Herpes simplex virus can be responding to Antiviral drugs as Acyclovir but no as such clinical trial evidence is present to prove it.

Fungal Meningitis and its treatment

Cryptococcal meningitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans is most common fungal meningitis.Other causative organisms of fungal meningitis are Histoplasma capsulatum, Blastomyces dermatitidis, Coccidioides immitis and Candida species. Long courses of anti fungal drugs like Amphotricin B and Flucytocine etc. are used to treat fungal meningitis.

Bacterial Meningitis

Most of the people who suffer from bacterial meningitis do recover, but it may result in serious complication like learning disabilities, brain damage and hearing loss. In United State almost 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis are reported in between 2003-2007and approximately 500 deaths were reported annually due to meningitis in this period. The causative organisms of bacterial meningitis may vary according to age group as Streptococcus, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes is a common causative organism in newborn, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria meningitidis type b in Infants and Children, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitides in Adolescents and Young Adults, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Listeria monocytogenes in older adults. Some of these bacteria spread through person to person contact like by kissing or respiratory exchange mucous secretion but not all meningitis causing bacteria may spread by this means.

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Bacterial Meningitis: signs and symptoms

Major Bacterial Meningitis signs and symptoms include nausea, vomiting, increase sensitivity to light, mental confusion. Lack of alertness, vomiting, feeding poorly, abnormal reflexes, soft spots on the head are common signs of bacterial Meningitis in infants.

Treatment of Bacterial Meningitis

As soon as the symptoms appear the Empirical therapy should start with medicine generally third generation cephalosporin like cefotaxime or ceftriaxon is used for this, but in some countries as United States résistance to cephalosporin is found so in addition Vancomycin is preferred. However cholamphenicol alone or in combination with ampicillin work equally well. This empirical therapy is started according to the age of the person. For meningococcas, pneumococcus and Haemophilus influenzae type b infection, certain vaccination are scheduled and to protect the child from bacterial meningitis these recommended vaccine schedule should be completed.

Generally meningitis are rarely seen in the population, but it is a serious health problem as brain and spinal cord involve in this so better is to be aware and protect yourself from infection. Take healthy and fresh food, keep proper sanitation around yourself, take necessary precautions to protect yourself with contact infection. Contact immediately to the doctor when you feel any symptom as sudden fever or severe headache.

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Amelia Smith

Nutritionist, herbalist, health and medicine writer and yoga enthusiast, Amelia Smith, is a professional in the health, nutrition and diet industry.
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