Meningitis

By Ilario

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membrane lining the brain and spinal cord meninges. It is caused by infected fluid surrounding the membrane.


It can be caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, however fungal meningitis is uncommon.

Transmission

Meningitis can be spread by water droplets in the air from infected people coughing or sneezing.


There is no vector and that is the only way it can be spread.


Meningitis is often spread when people are in close contact.

Incidence

People from 1-30 are most likely to get meningitis, however people who have weak immune systems can also get it. Elderly people are also susceptible. Outbreaks are common in Sub-Saharan Africa during the dry season.

Symptoms of Meningitis

Older children and adults first a show stiffness of the neck, and upper back, severe headache, mental confusion. These can be followed by fever, vomiting, skin rash, and convulsions leading to loss of consciousness.


Young children can experience fever, vomiting, restlessness, diarrhea difficult breathing, uncontrolled convulsions, and decreased levels of energy. These symptoms can develop very quickly.


Viral meningitis is very similar to the flu in its symptoms, and often clears up on its own.

How to Treat Meningitis

Early detection is crucial to the wellness of the patient. Bacterial meningitis must be treated right away with antibiotics. Viral meningitis is not as serious and can be treated just by treating the individual symptoms. Fungal Meningitis must be treated with high doses of anti-bacterial medicine.

Prognosis

Around 500 people in the U.S. die each year. There are about 4,100 cases in the U.S each year.


Fast treatment can prevent bacterial meningitis from becoming fatal. Viral meningitis can be treated a if it were the flu. Fungal meningitis must be treated immediately, because like bacterial meningitis it can also become fatal.

Prevention

A vaccine can be taken for bacterial meningitis, but it only affects a certain strain and must be taken again. This vaccine is effective at stopping the most common bacterial strain.

Current Event

In 2012, 751 people were infected with fungal meningitis and 64 people died. This resulted from contaminated vaccines. Executives of the company that manufactured the vaccines were later tried in court and a 100 million dollar settlement was agreed upon for the victims.
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Bibliography

"Meningitis." Diseases. Ed. Bryan H. Bunch. Danbury, CT: Grolier Educational, 2006. Print.


"Meningitis." Britannica School. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2016. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.


Matt Stout, Bob McGovern and Lindsay Kalter. "Execs face life for meningitis outbreak." Boston Herald (MA) 18 Dec. 2014:Newspaper Source. Web. 1 Feb. 2016


."Meningococcal Meningitis." World Health Organization. Nov. 2015. Web. 08 Feb. 2016.


."Meningococcal Meningitis." World Health Organization. Nov. 2015. Web. 08 Feb. 2016.