Meningitis - Early Treatment Helps to Prevent Serious Problems

Meningitis is an infection that affects the meninges, these are the delicate membranes that surround and protect the brain and the spinal cord.

There are several types of this disease. The most common is viral meningitis, it is tends to be less severe and many people recover without treatment. Bacterial meningitis spread between people in close contact with one another and it can be life-threatening. Bacterial meningitis can block blood vessels in the brain and lead to stroke and brain damage. It can also harm other organs. Left untreated, bacterial meningitis can be fatal. Fungal meningitis is a rare form of the disease and people who have a weakened immune system generally affected by this disease.

Meningitis is very common in individuals who have poor immune systems, such as those with human immunodeficiency virus, cancer, and the malnourished. In the United States there are approximately 3,000 cases of meningitis can be seen every year and between 10-12% cases are fatal, according to the report given by U.S Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Symptoms of Meningitis

Early symptoms of meningitis include sudden fever, a severe headache, stiff neck, confusion or unable to concentrate, sleepiness, seizures, no appetite or thrust and much more.

Causes of Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis

Bacterial infections can be life-threatening and in newborns is a rare condition that usually results from an infection of the bloodstream. Bacteria that enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain and spinal cord cause acute bacterial meningitis.

There are several strains of bacteria can cause acute bacterial meningitis:

1.  Streptococcus pneumonia: In infants, young children and adults in the United States, this bacterium is the common cause of Pneumonia or ear or sinus infections. Infection can be prevented by vaccine.

2.Neisseria meningitides: This bacteria cause an upper respiratory infection in teenagers and adults. It may cause epidemics in college           dormitories, boarding schools and military bases. A vaccine can help prevent infection.

3.Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) bacterium is also leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children.

4.Listeria monocytogens also known as listeria can be found in unpasteurized cheese, hot dogs and luncheon meats. Newborns,          pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are most susceptible. Sometime it can cross the placental barrier and in the late pregnancy it may be fatal to the baby.

Viral meningitis:

Viral meningitis is mild and often clears on its own within 10 days. A group of common viruses known as enteroviruses, causes stomach flu, are responsible for 90% of viral meningitis in the United States.

Fungal meningitis

Fungal meningitis is a fungal form of the disease caused by Cryptococus neoformans. It affects individuals with immune deficiencies, such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

Chronic meningitis

Chronic meningitis is rare. It can be fungal, bacterial or viral. Chronic form of meningitis occurs when slow-growing organisms invade the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain. The sign and symptoms of chronic meningitis includes headaches, fever, vomiting and mental cloudiness.

Other Causes: sometimes drug allergies, some kind of cancer and inflammatory diseases such as lupus, HIV are also some of the causes of Meningitis.

Prevention and Treatment

Early treatment helps to prevent serious problems such as death. Vaccination can prevent some of the bacterial infections that cause meningitis in college dorms.

The treatment for meningitis depends on the individual age, the extent of the infection, complications and presence of other medical conditions. In case of mild viral meningitis, the individual may only need home treatment, including fluids to prevent dehydration and medicine to control pain and fever.

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