Friday, July 7, 2017

Meningitis Also called: Spinal meningitis

Woman with headacheMeningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. A bacterial or viral infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord usually causes the swelling. However, injuries, cancer, certain drugs, and other types of infections also can cause meningitis. It is important to know the specific cause of meningitis because the treatment differs depending on the cause.

Meningitis Versus Meningococcal Disease:
There IS a Difference

Sick boy
Having meningitis doesn’t always mean you have meningococcal disease. And having meningococcal disease doesn’t necessarily mean you have meningitis. Meningococcal disease is any illness caused by a type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. These illnesses are serious and include meningitis and bloodstream infections (septicemia).  More about meningococcal disease…

Resources for Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare resources
Get clinical disease information, as well as vaccine recommendations and vaccination resources, for common causes of meningitis.

How it Spreads

Doctor with patient.
Bacterial Meningitis
Generally, the germs that cause bacterial meningitis spread from one person to another. Certain germs can spread through food. How people spread the germs often depends on the type of bacteria. Read about common examples of how people spread the different types of bacteria to each other.
Viral Meningitis
People can spread the viruses that cause viral meningitis to other people. If you have close contact with someone who has viral meningitis, they may spread the virus to you. However, you are not likely to develop meningitis. That’s because most people infected with these viruses will not develop meningitis.
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Related Article:
Meningitis is a rare infection that affects the delicate membranes -- called meninges -- that cover the brain and spinal cord. You or your children can catch it.
There are several types of this disease, including bacterial, viral, and fungal.
Bacterial meningitis can be life-threatening and spreads between people in close contact with each other.
Viral meningitis tends to be less severe, and most people recover completely without treatment.
Fungal meningitis is a rare form of the disease. It usually only happens in people who have a weakened immune system -- the body's defense against germs.

What Causes Meningitis?
Meningitis is almost always caused by a bacterial or viral infection that begins somewhere else in the body besides the brain, like your ears, sinuses, or throat.
Less common causes of meningitis include:
  • Fungal infection
  • Syphilis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Cancer medications

Additional Article:


Meningitis is inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges. There are several types of meningitis. The most common is viral meningitis. You get it when a virus enters the body through the nose or mouth and travels to the brain. Bacterial meningitis is rare, but can be deadly. It usually starts with bacteria that cause a cold-like infection. It can cause strokehearing loss, and brain damage. It can also harm other organs. Pneumococcal infections and meningococcal infections are the most common causes of bacterial meningitis.
Anyone can get meningitis, but it is more common in people with weak immune systems. Meningitis can get serious very quickly. You should get medical care right away if you have
  • A sudden high fever
  • A severe headache
  • A stiff neck
  • Nausea or vomiting
Early treatment can help prevent serious problems, including death. Tests to diagnose meningitis include blood tests, imaging tests, and a spinal tap to test cerebrospinal fluid. Antibiotics can treat bacterial meningitis. Antiviral medicines may help some types of viral meningitis. Other medicines can help treat symptoms.
There are vaccines to prevent some of the bacterial infections that cause meningitis.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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