There are four ingredients in true leadership: brains, soul, heart and good nerves. – Klaus Schwab

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is a rare infection that affects the delicate membranes called the meninges, which cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis occurs when fluid surrounding the meninges becomes infected and cause inflammation. 

Bacterial meningitis is an extremely serious illness. It is life-threatening or can lead to brain damage unless you get quick treatment.

Possible Causes: 

Meningitis is the swelling of the membranes (meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord. A bacterial or viral infection that begins in some other part of your body besides the brain, like your ears, sinuses, or throat causes meningitis.

  • Bacterial meningitis is caused by an ear or sinus infection, a skull fracture or in some case after surgery.
  • Viral meningitis is caused by viruses such as herpes simplex virus, HIV and mumps to name a few.
  • Chronic meningitis is caused by organisms such as fungi and mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • Fungal meningitis is caused by immune deficiencies, such as AIDS. It's life-threatening if not treated with an antifungal medication.
  • Some other causes of meningitis could be syphilis, tuberculosis, autoimmune disorders and cancer medications.

Risk Factors: 

The risk factors for getting meningitis are:        

  • Children under five years of age are susceptible to viral meningitis while bacterial meningitis is common in those under twenty years.
  • Crowded living environs like college hostels, military camps, boarding schools and child care facilities pose a huge risk for contracting meningococcal meningitis.
  • Not taking scheduled vaccinations. 
  • Pregnant women can get an infection caused by listeria bacteria, which may also cause meningitis. 
  • AIDS, alcoholism, diabetes, use of drugs that affect your immune system, medical conditions, such as a damaged or missing spleen.

Signs & Symptoms: 

The swelling from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck. At the onset of the disease, flu-like symptoms may be observed. 

  • In infants, the fontanel may appear to bulge and they may show symptoms of fever, irritability, poor feeding, and lethargy.
  • In children above the age of two years and adults, there may be sudden high fever, stiff neck, headache with nausea or vomiting and seizures. Other signs are sluggishness, sensitivity to light, lack of appetite or skin rash.

Diagnosis: 

If meningitis is suspected, do consult a neurologist at Medcare for a proper diagnosis. The specialist checks for signs of infection around the head, ears, throat and the skin along the spine. 

Complete medical history, a physical examination, blood tests and imaging are all a part of the diagnosis process.

  • Blood culture is done to see if it grows microorganisms, particularly bacteria.
  • Computerised tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head is extremely helpful to diagnose inflammation. Additionally, X-rays or CT scans of the chest or sinuses are also taken to check for infection.
  • In bacterial meningitis a lumbar puncture is done to see if the composition of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) confirms the disease. 
  • Viral meningitis, is diagnosed by a DNA-based test known as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification.

Treatment Options: 

Once the diagnosis confirms meningitis, consult a neurologist at Medcare for meningitis treatment.

The approach to the treatment varies, depending on the type of meningitis:

  • Bacterial meningitis: here immediate treatment ensures recovery, avoiding brain swelling and seizures. Intravenous antibiotics and steroids are given. Any infected sinuses or mastoids are drained.
  • Viral meningitis: doctors can’t treat viral meningitis with antibiotics. Bed rest, drinking water and medicines reduce fever and body aches. Corticosteroids help in reduction of swelling in the brain, and an anticonvulsant medication may be given to control seizures.
FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • What is meningitis?

    A: Meningitis is an infection that causes swelling in the membranes called meninges, that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis could be bacterial, viral, chronic or fungal.

  • Is meningitis life threatening?

    A: Bacterial meningitis is serious, and can be fatal if not treated promptly with antibiotics. Delayed treatment increases the risk of permanent brain damage or death.

  • Is meningitis contagious? How does it spread?

    A: Yes, meningitis is contagious. Common bacteria or viruses that can cause meningitis can spread through coughing, sneezing, kissing, or sharing eating utensils, a toothbrush or a cigarette.

  • Is there a vaccine available for meningitis prevention?

    A: Ask your doctor about vaccines for meningitis. There are vaccines available to protect against certain bacterial meningitis strains. These are usually given to children or adolescents. If you believe that an older person is at a high risk, discuss with the doctor whether a vaccine is suitable for that person.

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