Meningitis is still with us. It can strike in an instant, but the impact can last a lifetime - Meningitis Now
"Most cases of meningitis are caused by viruses and these infections, while they make you feel really lousy for a week or two, are usually fought off by the body on its own with no residual effects. One specific type of viral meningitis is herpetic viral meningitis and it is treatable with an antiviral drug called acyclovir. CSF evaluation is pretty good at showing whether a case of meningitis is caused by a virus, but really lousy at determining which specific virus is the guilty party.
Because of this many physicians treat all patients who have viral meningitis with acyclovir just in case they happen to have herpetic meningitis, which is a fairly common disease because the herpes viruses (there are lots) are much more prevalent than most folks realized. Remember that herpes viruses don’t only cause the notorious genital disease, the also cause cold sores, which most of us have from time-to-time.
The biggest concern that a doctor has when they are confronted with someone who has meningitis is to determine if the meningitis is cause by bacteria. Bacterial meningitis is bad news because it is fatal about 10% of the time and responsible for brain damage or limb amputations in up to 20% (that’s 1-in-5) of the survivors. Limb amputations? Yep, I said that right. Bacterial meningitis frequently causes shock and DIC, two deadly conditions in which the whole body more or less shuts down in response to an infection.
When this occurs the body tries to shunt its blood supply to its most important organs, namely the heart and the brain, and this comes at the expense of the limbs in particular. Because the limbs no longer are being supplied with an adequate amount of blood they die and the treatment for a necrotic limb is to amputate it before it becomes infected because otherwise the infection of the dead limb is likely to spread to the rest of the body and result in death.
Bacterial meningitis is treated with potent antibiotics, antiepileptic drugs to prevent seizures, and with powerful anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease damage to the brain. With that said, the best treatment for bacterial meningitis is to prevent it in the first place and the medical establishment is actually pretty good at this if people will vaccinate their kids! Pneumococcus and Haemophilus influenza type b were formerly very common causes of very serious cases of bacterial meningitis in young children.
The incidence of meningitis caused by these two nasty bugs has greatly decreased due to the Conjugated Pneumococcal Vaccine (PCV7) and the Hib Vaccine, both of which are routinely given to young children with the first dose of Hib being given at the age of 2 months. In addition, the most notorious cause of meningitis in teenagers and young adults is Meningococcus and we have a pretty good vaccine that covers most strains of this nasty killer and that is now routinely given to children at age 12 (with a booster at age 16), thus saving many otherwise young healthy lives. The take home message is to please vaccinate your children!
There are two other uncommon, but exceedingly nasty, other types of organisms that are potential causes of meningitis: fungi and parasites. Fungal meningitis most commonly afflicts people who are immunocompromised, e.g. people with AIDS and people suffering from cancer. Though usually uncommon in healthy persons, there was an outbreak in 2012 that was spread by contaminated corticosteroid injections (often used for joint injections in people with arthritis) that unnecessarily killed a lot of people.
An even more scary cause of meningitis is the parasite Naegleria fowleri, an ameba that can swim up the nose of people who are swimming in warm fresh water and that causes a form of meningitis that has a 95% mortality (death) rate! Fortunately Naegleria meningitis is rare; unfortunately, when it does strike it is usually in young healthy teenagers because this is the age group that most commonly swims in warm lakes and rivers."
Source: Zippykidcustomer, Excerpt from What is Meningitis? Meningitis 101, The health and Medical Blog with a Personality, October 29, 2013.
Winning Hearts and Minds With a Vaccine?
Meningitis is an awful disease. It comes on suddenly, kills frequently, disables its survivors for life, and devastates families economically and emotionally. When it occurs in epidemics, as it does frequently in Africa's "Meningitis Belt", it has the power to disrupt entire communities and health systems...
A Bad Outlook for a Bad Disease
One of the worst things that you could ever wish on an enemy is bacterial meningitis. It comes suddenly and it is very painful, difficult to treat, and highly lethal. Many survivors are affected for life by physical disabilities such as deafness, speech impediments, and even limb amputations.
Killer Disease on Campus
Despite all the progress in intensive care and the introduction of new vaccines for all but one type of meningococcal disease, the scourge still strikes fear into whole communities. It's a killer that doesn't discriminate, and across the world, hundreds of thousands die from it each year, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
I only hope that in my lifetime, the investment in vaccine research pays off and that eventually no more children and parents will have to suffer the pain and anguish that I have witnessed so many times.
Lessons From Meningitis
The recent outbreak of fungal meningitis, which has resulted in a steadily increasing number of deaths, crystalizes the importance of vigilant regulation of the pharmaceutical industry and affirms the need for swift correctional mechanisms in the case of tainted medicines.
Not just college freshmen living in dorms get meningitis. Please educate yourself, speak to your health care provider, follow ACIP recommendations for adolescents and get immunized.
Meningitis Foundation of America
Founded in 1997, the Meningitis Foundation of America is the first national non-profit in the United States of America dedicated to the education, vaccination and eradication of meningitis. Our mission is to support sufferers of meningitis and their families through support groups, advocate for advanced research for the prevention and the long term effects of various meningitis strains as well as facilitating programs to educate the public about the causes and symptoms of meningitis.
Our vision is a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.
Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada
The Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada is dedicated to the prevention of Meningitis, to improving survival rates and outcomes, and to the support of families of those whose lives have been changed by this disease.
National Meningitis Association
NMA''s mission is to educate families, medical professionals and others about bacterial meningitis and prevention approaches to the disease.
Progress and challenges in bacterial meningitis
Bacterial meningitis is a devastating disease that is associated with substantial mortality and morbidity. The major causative bacteria are Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitis , with case-fatality rates of 30% and 7%, respectively, in high-income countries. In resource-poor countries, fatality rates can be as high as 50%.
The Meningitis Centre
The Meningitis Centre is striving to eliminate Meningitis in Australia by lobbying for vaccines and educating the community to be aware of the signs and symptoms. The Centre also provides support for families affected by the disease.
The Meningitis Files
Meningitis is one of the most terrifying diseases. It can be fatal in hours yet its early symptoms resemble self-limiting conditions like flu and colds. BBC News Online's health team offers a guide to the disease, the issues it raises for the health service and the science employed to defeat it.
What is Meningitis? Meningitis 101
As formidable as the blood-brain barrier is, every once in a while the blood-brain barrier is infiltrated by a bacteria or a virus and the result is meningitis, encephalitis, or both.
All About Heaven
Untreated, bacterial meningitis is almost always fatal. Viral meningitis, in contrast, tends to resolve spontaneously and is rarely fatal. With treatment, mortality (risk of death) from bacterial meningitis depends on the age of the patient and the underlying cause.
Band Back Together
While there are many different types of meningitis, the symptoms and diagnostic methods are virtually identical across the types of meningitis. The hallmark symptoms of meningitis are sudden onset of a headache, fever, neck stiffness, confusion, inability to handle lights or noise, nausea and vomiting. Severity of symptoms does vary.
There are five types of meningitis - bacterial meningitis, viral meningitis, fungal meningitis, parasitic meningitis, and non-infectious meningitis.
Meningitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. The inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Meningitis may develop in response to a number of causes, usually bacteria or viruses, but meningitis can also be caused by physical injury, cancer or certain drugs.
The severity of illness and the treatment for meningitis differ depending on the cause. Thus, it is important to know the specific cause of meningitis.
Meningitis can be caused by a variety of things, including bacteria (the most serious cases), viruses, fungi, reactions to medications, and environmental toxins such as heavy metals. Although bacterial and fungal meningitis require extended hospitalization, meningitis caused by viruses can often be treated at home and has a much better outcome.
Kids of any age can get meningitis, but because it can be easily spread among people living in close quarters, teens, college students, and boarding-school students are at higher risk for infection.
Most cases of meningitis in the U.S. are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial and fungal infections also can lead to meningitis. Depending on the cause of the infection, meningitis can get better on its own in a couple of weeks – or it can be a life-threatening emergency requiring urgent antibiotic treatment.
Basic steps to avoid spread of organisms, such a hand washing and covering your mouth when coughing, will also help in decreasing the risk of spreading meningitis. There are vaccines against Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) and against some strains of N. meningitidis and many types of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Medindia provides you with the latest news and research breakthroughs on Meningitis
In Britain, the introduction of a Hib vaccination has led to a virtual eradication of Hib meningitis. If there is a rash it is worth trying the "glass test" as you may have seen on the television. This involves pressing a glass tumbler against the rash to see if the red spots disappear under pressure. The rash of meningococcal meningitis does not disappear on application of pressure.
Early treatment can help prevent serious problems, including death. Vaccines can prevent some of the bacterial infections that cause meningitis. Parents of adolescents and students living in college dorms should talk to a doctor about the vaccination.
The very mention of meningitis strikes fear into the heart of most parents in the UK.
Such fears are understandable because meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and can be a very serious illness. Meninigitis is often associated with septicaemia, otherwise known as blood poisoning, which can also be extremely serious.
Although most people recover from the disease, some are left deaf or blind, and in others it may prove fatal.
News on Meningitis continually updated from thousands of sources around the net
Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the covering of the brain and spinal cord. It is most often caused by infection (bacterial, viral, or fungal), but can also be produced by chemical irritation, subarachnoid haemorrhage, cancer and other conditions.