What is Menigitis?
It is an Infectious disease that can be caused by a bacteria, virus, or fungi. Some of the common bacterias that cause Meningitis are meningococcus, hemophilus influenzae, or streptococcus pnemoniae.
How does it spread?
Meningitis is fairly contagious. It usually spreads by saliva exchange, but can also be spread by biting insects. With Fungal Meningitis, it can be spread by inhaling fungal spores found in bird or bat feces.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of Meningitis start out similar to the flu or even just a cold, with fever, sore throat, rash, irritability, severe headache, vomiting, neck stiffness, and upper back stiffness. As it progresses, you may experience confusion, sensitivity to light, diarreah, a bulging in the skull for infants, difficulty breathing, skin yellowing, skin rash, and convulsions that can lead to unconsciousness.
What is the treatment?
Bacterial Meningitis is treated with antibiotics, and it is critical to start treatment immediately after diagnosis. There is no specific treatment for VIral Meningitis, and most people recover on their own within 7-10 days. In some cases, they may prescribe antiviral medication. Fungal Meningitis is treated with antifungal medication, most commonly given through an I.V. tube.
How can it be prevented?
A vaccine for Hemophilis Influenzae given to children is helpful in preventing Meningitis. Also, being in close quarters with someone who has meningitis can give you the disease, because it can be spread through saliva exchange. Therefore, they may give you preventive antibiotics.
What is the incidence?
Bacterial Meningitis is most common in children less than 5 years of age, and even more common in infants, but Meningitis in general is most common in people 30 years old and younger, although it can happen to anyone. African American, Filipino, and pregnant women are more likely to contract the disease. People with weak immune systems are also more likely to contract the disease. Additionally, the disease is more common in Sub-Saharan Africa, or any hot, dry area.
What is the prognosis?
Less than 10% of people affected by bacterial meningitis in the US, which is the more lethal form of the disease, decease. Early treatment can cause the potentially lethal disease to be stopped, instead of progressing further.
Are there any current outbreaks?
At the moment, there is not an outbreak. However, in 2015, there was a highly aggressive form of the disease affecting children and teens in the UK. Health chiefs there began giving meningitis jabs to teens age 14-18.