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Meningitis



Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes that envelop the brain. These membranes are called Meninges and consists of dura mater,  arachnoid mater and pia mater.
Meningitis is very rare but it is more
dangerous for people who have medical conditions majorly compromised immune system.


 Causes Of Meningitis 

Meningitis is caused by microorganisms that live in our bodies. These microbes are normal floras and usually do not cause this sickness but when they migrate to other parts of the body like the brain membranes, they become pathogenic. These microbes stays in the nose, throat, intestine or any part of our bodies but when they spread to the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, inflammation occurs in these membranes. These microbes include bacteria, virus and fungi. They are contagious and can be spread from one person to the other.
Less common causes of meningitis include Medication, auto immune disorder, syphilis and tuberculosis. 


 Bacterial Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis occurs when bacteria get into the bloodstream from the sinuses , ears, or other part of the upper respiratory tract and then travel to the brain where they cause this infection. 

These bacteria affects mainly the arachnoid and pia mater. They take advantage of the specific features of the immune system in the brain and spinal cord, replicate and induce inflammation. Bacterial meningitis needs immediate medical attention because it is a very serious illness and the bacterium that causes it can spread from one person to another through close personal contact such as coughing ,sneezing, kissing or sharing of kitchen utensils .If bacterial meningitis is not treated quickly, it can lead to permanent damage to the brain, other parts of the body, paralysis, seizure, stroke or even death. Bacteria that cause meningitis are more likely to attack the membranes of your brain after a head fracture,surgery or sinus infection. These conditions lower your immunity and disrupt your body’s natural barriers, leaving your body open to infection of any kind.
Bacteria that cause meningitis include:
Streptococcus pneumoniae(pneumococcus)
Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) 
Listeria monocytogenes
Haemophilus influenzae(Hib)
Gram-negative rods(eg, Escherichia
coli, Klebsiella)

 Viral Meningitis

Viral meningitis is more common and less serious than the bacterial form. It is a viral infection that affects the covering of the brain and spinal cord. Because of its flu -like symptoms, many people mistake it for the flu . Other viruses that lead to meningitis are those that cause chickenpox, mononucleosis (mono), and herpes simplex viruses. Symptoms can be similar to those of bacterial meningitis. Viruses are usually associated with gastroenteritis. The viruses that cause meningitis in human may be spread through respiratory secretions or faeces

 Fungal Meningitis

Fungal meningitis is much less common than bacterial or fungal meningitis.Meningitis mainly affects people with impaired immune system. Fungal meningitis is rare in healthy people. 

 

 Signs and symptoms

  • High fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Joint pains
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Rash of purple discoloration

 Complications

  • Paralysis
  • Stroke
  • Memory problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Kidney failure
  • Body-wide infection and shock
  • Movement problems
  • Learning disabilities
  • Seizures
  • Fatigue
  • Recurring headaches
  • Mood swings or aggression
  • Balance problems or clumsiness
  • Temporary or permanent deafness
  • Loss of vision
  • Brain damage (rare)
  • Loss of limbs

 Treatment

  • Intravenous Antibiotics
  • Corticosteroids
  • Over the counter pain medication
  • Anti viral medication
  • Anti fungal medication
Note: caution should be applied when using this drugs.

Prevention

  • Antibiotics (if you've come into close contact with someone who has
  • some kinds of bacterial meningitis)
  • Other vaccines
  • Good hygiene
  • Not sharing food, drinks, or utensils


Predisposing factors

  • Age
  • Socioeconmic factor
  • Exposure to pathogens
  • Immuno-compromising factors
  • Drugs mostly NSAIDs
  • Other disease conditions