Meningitis

By: Isaac Bender

Causes

The main cause of meningitis is infection. Acute bacterial meningitis usually occurs when bacteria enters the bloodstream and goes to the brain or spinal cord. It can also occur when bacteria directly invades the meninges. Herpes simplex virus, HIV, West Nile Virus, and mumps are all viruses that can cause viral meningitis. Other direct causes are chemical irritation, drug allergies, fungi, parasites, and tumors.

Treatment

Antibiotics are given to treat bacterial meningitis and antiviral medicines are given to treat viral meningitis. Bed rest and plenty of fluids can also help with getting rid of viral meningitis. You can also get an IV and other medicines to treat symptoms like shock, brain swelling, and seizures. Viral meningitis occurs more often than bacterial meningitis, but is milder. It occurs late summer and early fall and it most often affects children and adults under the age of 30. If you have bacterial meningitis it is an emergency. You need to get immediate treatment in a hospital right away.

Prevention

A way to prevent from getting meningitis is by getting the vaccines: haemophilus, pneumococcus, and meningococcus. These will help by not getting infected. Some easy ways for preventing the diseaseare washing your hands frequently through the day, practice good hygiene, stay healthy by maintaining your immune system, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and if you're pregnant take care of your food before you eat it.

Symptoms

The symptoms for bacterial and viral meningitis are fever and chills, mental status changes, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia), severe headache, and stiff neck (meningismus). Others are agitation, rapid breathing, unusual posture (opisthotonus), decreased alertness, irritability in children and poor feeding, and bulging fontanels in babies. You cannot tell if you have bacterial or viral meningitis by how you feel. Your health professional can tell you if you start having any symptoms of meningitis.

Similar Diseases

Tetanus, fungal disease, naegleria, and behect's disease are all similar diseases to meningitis. They are similar because they are all infectious diseases.

Organ Affected

If you have bacterial meningitis the brain is affected when you have it. The meninges in the brain begin to swell up.

Pump It Up!

In 2009, epidemic season, 14 countries reported 88,199 suspected cases of meningitis and 5,352 deaths. That was the largest number since the 1996 epidemic case. Today, that number has gone down with the help of the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP). The MVP are connected with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Nonprofit Organization (PATH). Their goal is to eliminate meningitis every where. These groups have helped by providing the MenAfriVac. It is a vaccine for people in Africa who are in the meningitis belt. The meningitis belt is in the middle part of Africa. The vaccine is less than 50 cents per dose. In other places it can be up to $100 dollars per dose.The GAVI Alliance (public-private global health partnership) has donated $162 million American dollars for providing the MenAfriVac. They got the money from donations. The vaccine was made in a record time of less than 10 years. People who give the vaccine are all workers. It is estimated by 2016 all of the countries in the meningitis belt will have been introduced to the MenAfriVac vaccine.

Bibliography

Digital image. Rutgers Healthy NJ Informaton for Healthy Living. Rutgers Healthy NJ Information for Healthy Living. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Hoff, Brent, Carter Smith, and Charles H. Calisher. Mapping Epidemics: A Historical Atlas of Disease. New York: Franklin Watts, 2000. Print.

Lady giving vaccine. Digital image. WHO. WHO. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Medicine and a shot. Digital image. Meningitis Buzzle.com. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

Meningitis Immunization Board. Digital image. WHO. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

"Meningitis." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.

"Meningitis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 Nov. 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

"Meningitis Vaccine Provides Hope to People in Ghana." WHO. WHO. Web. 09 Dec. 2014.