Meningitis: More than an infection
Meningitis infection is a health condition that affects the thin membrane of a persons’ spinal cord or brain. One of the forms of meningitis, bacterial meningitis, is a severe and life-threatening form of this illness that occurs due to bacterial infection.
It is an infection that affects the meninges, a membrane surrounding the spinal cord and brain. The meninges functions with the cerebrospinal fluid to protect your central nervous stimulant. According to a report by World Health Organization, bacterial meningitis has a mortality rate of around 10 percent.
About 20% of people who have bacterial meningitis have serious complications. According to CDC, the most effective way to prevent this illness is vaccination.
Due to the severity of the health condition, treatment should begin as soon as possible. Approximately 80% of the bacterial meningitis patients are bacterial, making it the most common type.
Approximately 600 to 1000 people develop meningitis infection in the USA every year. The number of cases is declining because more people are getting their meningitis vaccine over time.
Does meningitis infection have different types?
The different types of meningitis infection include:
It is contagious causes due to infection from bacteria and can become fatal if left untreated. Approximately 5 to 40% of children and 20 to 50% of adults with this condition die. It is true even with proper treatment.
The most common types of bacteria that cause meningitis are streptococcus pneumonia, Neisseria meningitides, Haemophilus influenza, listeria monocytogenes, and staphylococcus aureus.
It is a rare type of meningitis caused due to fungus that infects your body and spreads from your bloodstream to your spinal cord and brain.
People with weak immune are more likely to develop fungal meningitis. It includes people with HIV and cancer. The most common funguses related to this type include cryptococcus, Blastomyces, Histoplasma, and coccidiosis.
It is less common than bacterial or viral meningitis and caused by parasites that are easily found in feces, dirt, and on animals and foods such as raw fish, poultry, or snails.
A single type of parasitic meningitis is rarer than others. The main types of parasites that are responsible for meningitis include angiostrongylus cantonensis, baylisascaris procynosis, and gnathostoma spinigerum. It is transmissible from person to person.
It is not an infection but, it is a type of meningitis that is caused by other medical conditions to treatments. It includes a head injury, lupus, brain surgery, cancer, or certain medications.
Experts also differentiate meningitis by how quickly the symptoms develop. It includes acute meningitis and chronic meningitis.
What is the first sign of meningitis?
The first sign is usually a headache, fever, feeling unwell, and vomiting. Other symptoms such as pale skin, limb pain, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the neck stiffness, rash, confusion, and dislike of bright lights. Not every person gets all the symptoms, and they can appear in order.
Each type of meningitis has a different cause, but each acts the same way. A fungus, parasite, and bacterium meningitis spread through the bloodstream until it reaches your spinal cord or brain, causing an infection. It sets up lining or fluids around the vital body parts and develops into an advanced illness.
It can also happen after an infection or head injury that weakens your immunity power. Often, experts cannot identify the exact cause of bacterial meningitisâ€”non-infectious meningitis results from a physical injury or condition that does not involve an infection.
What are the symptoms of meningitis?
The symptoms of bacterial and viral meningitis are the same at the beginning. But, bacteria signs are usually more severe. The symptoms depend on your age.
Viral meningitis in children may cause irritability, decreased appetite, sleepiness, fever, and lethargy. In adults, symptoms may include fever, headaches, stiff neck, seizures, tiredness, sensitivity to bright light, lethargy, vomiting, nausea, and decreased appetite.
Bacterial meningitis symptoms
Symptoms of bacterial meningitis can develop suddenly. It may include nausea, altered mental status, vomiting, sensitivity to light, headache, irritability, fever, chills, stiff neck, lethargy, sleepiness, and purple areas of skin that resemble bruises. When you notice these signs, seek immediate medical attention. Viral and bacterial meningitis can be fatal.
Fungal meningitis symptoms
Fungal meningitis symptoms resemble the other type of this infection. It may include vomiting, nausea, fever, sensitivity to light, headache, and confusion.
Each meningitis has some different symptoms. To know more about the symptoms, you need to understand the difference between every type of meningitis.
When should I consult a doctor?
Seek immediate medical attention when you notice meningitis symptoms or signs in you or your family, such as fever, confusion, severe headache, vomiting, or stiff neck. Bacterial meningitis becomes serious if left untreated and can be fatal within days without any proper treatment.
Delayed treatment increases the risk of permanent brain damage or even death. It is necessary to tell your doctor if your family member or someone you work or live with has this infection. You may need certain vaccines or medications to prevent the condition.
How do they test for meningitis?
Your healthcare professional will decide which type of meningitis you have, bacterial fungal or viral. The appropriate treatment will depend on identifying which type of meningitis it is.
You need a spinal tap to analyze your spinal fluid. You may also need specific tests such as blood tests, urine tests, or mucus from the throat or nose to diagnose.
Bacterial meningitis diagnosis
If you or your family members experience any symptoms of bacterial meningitis, seek medical help immediately. The expert will perform a physical exam or look for neck stiffness, purple or red skin rash, or hip and knee flexibility.
Viral meningitis diagnosis
Your healthcare professional will rule out other causes of your symptoms, or you need an MRI scan, CT scan, blood test, or stool sample. They can also look for nose and throat swabs and a spinal tap to look for an increase in white blood cells or bacteria.
Your healthcare provider may recommend antibiotics to treat bacterial meningitis. They may start your treatment even before all the test results are in.
They may also prescribe an intravenous antibiotic with a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation. Once the results are in, identifying the specific bacteria, they can change antibiotics to target the disease. You may also need to replenish fluids you may have lost due to sweating, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or vomiting. You may need IV fluids to help.
If you or your loved ones have meningitis, seek immediate medical attention. The most common symptoms from meningitis may include fever, headache, or neck stiffness. With proper treatment, you can make a full recovery.
It is essential to take your meningitis vaccine at a time to prevent you or your family from the infection. The most common type of meningitis includes viral and bacterial meningitis.