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Meningococcal meningitis is an infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (also known as meningococcus) that causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
What are the causes?
What are the symptoms?
How is it diagnosed?
What is the treatment?
What is the prognosis?
What are the complications?
What is the prevention?
 
Thu,23 Oct 2003 05:30:00 +0530
Written by : DoctorNDTV Team
Checked by :
 
  • Meningococcal meningitis is an infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (also known as meningococcus) that causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
    Thu,23 Oct 2003 05:30:00
    Meningococcal meningitis is an infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (also known as meningococcus) that causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
  • What are the causes?
    Thu,23 Oct 2003 05:30:00
    Most cases of meningococcal meningitis occur in children, from infancy to adolescence. Meningococcus is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children and the second most common cause of bacterial meningitis in adults. The onset of the disease may be rapid and may start with an upper respiratory infection or sore throat. The infection occurs more often in winter or spring and may cause local epidemics at boarding schools, college dormitories, or military bases. Risk factors include recent exposure to meningococcal meningitis and recent upper respiratory infection.
  • What are the symptoms?
    Thu,23 Oct 2003 05:30:00
  • Rash, pinpoint red spots
  • High fever
  • Severe headache
  • Severe malaise (feeling very unwell)
  • Nausea and vomiting
    Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Mental status changes
  • How is it diagnosed?
    Thu,23 Oct 2003 05:30:00
    Physical examination reveals low blood pressure, fast heart rate, stiff neck, and a possible rash. Other tests include the following:
    • Elevated white blood cell (WBC) count (in blood)
    • Spinal tap for spinal fluid (CSF) showing increase white blood cells, low glucose, high protein
    • Special stains of spinal fluid sometimes showing meningococcus
    • CSF culture growing meningococci
    • Blood culture growing meningococci
    • CT scan of the brain is usually normal
  • What is the treatment?
    Thu,23 Oct 2003 05:30:00
    Early recognition and treatment of anyone exposed to meningococcus is extremely important to prevent serious illness or death. Antibiotics such as ceftriaxone are prescribed and given intravenously for this disease. Other medicines may be used to treat the complications arising from the increased spinal fluid pressure. Sometimes steroid medication is used, more often in children than adults.
  • What is the prognosis?
    Thu,23 Oct 2003 05:30:00
    The death rate ranges from 5% to 15%, with young children and adults over 50 having the highest risk of death.
  • What are the complications?
    Thu,23 Oct 2003 05:30:00
    -Brain damage
    -Shock
    -Increased spinal fluid pressure
    -Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)
    -Hydrocephalus (blockage of spinal fluid in brain)
    -Deafness
    -Paralysis of various muscles
    -Mental retardation
  • What is the prevention?
    Thu,23 Oct 2003 05:30:00
    It is recommended that all family and close contacts (especially in health care or school settings) of people with this type of meningitis begin antibiotic treatment as soon as possible to prevent spread of the infection. It is necessary to ask the doctor about this during the initial diagnostic visit. Close contacts in the same household, school, or day care center should be watched for early signs of the disease as soon as the initial case is diagnosed. Preventive measures such as washing hands before and after changing a diaper or using the bathroom and other good hygiene habits should always be implemented. Vaccines are effective for the control of epidemics and are currently recommended for college students and military recruits, as well as travellers to certain parts of the world.
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