Meningococcal Disease - Dream Health

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Wednesday 25 March 2015

Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal Meningitis – Bacterial Form of Meningitis

Meningococcal meningitis is a kind of bacterial form of meningitis which is a serious infection of the meninges that can affect the brain membrane. The person tends to suffer from severe brain damage which is fatal in most cases if not treated in time.

Various types of bacteria could cause meningitis and Neisseria meningitidis is one kind which has the potential of causing a large epidemic. Twelve types of sero-groups of N meningitidis which have been identified out of which 6 – A, B, C, D, W; X and Y could cause epidemics. The epidemic potential and the geographical distribution may vary according to sero-group.Being a rare and serious infection, it causes the inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and the spinal cord.

If prompt treatment is not rendered it could be fatal or cause some serious harm. As per the Centres for Disease Control around 15% of those who tend to survive, have some disabilities which includes deafness, brain damage and neurological problem. The two cause of meningitis are bacteria and virus and the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis also known as meningococcus causes meningococcal meningitis. It is very common cause of bacterial meningitis in children and teenagers. In the case of adults it is the second most common cause.

Causes & Symptoms

The meningococcal bacteria could cause infection in a part of the body such as the skin, gastrointestinal tract or the respiratory tract. The bacteria for some unknown reasons could spread through the bloodstream to the nervous system and then causes meningococcal meningitis. The bacteria also tend to enter the nervous system directly after severe head trauma, infection of surgery.

 If the person is exposed to the bacterium which is the cause, or if they have had a recent upper respiratory infection, then the risk of the ailment increases. Toddlers, children as well as teens are also at great risk.

Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis may differ from person to person and the most common symptoms comprise of stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, severe persistent headaches, nausea and vomiting, confusion, joint pain and general poor feeling. Around 5 to 10% of the patients die typically with 24 to 48 hours after the symptoms show up, even when the condition is diagnosed in its initial stage with adequate treatment rendered.

Precaution – Prevention 

A less common though severe form of meningococcal is meningococcal septicaemia that is characterized by a haemorrhagic rash together with rapid circulatory collapse. Reddish or a purple skin rash is a sign to look for in the case of this ailment and if it does not turn white when you press a glass against it, the rash could be a sign of blood poisoning and is a medical emergency.

Once the diagnosis of the condition has been confirmed, the doctor could start with antibiotics by an IV or intravenous line. The person could also need other medication to treat issues related to increased spinal fluid pressure where at times steroids could be prescribed. Antibiotics should be given to prevent infection when in contact with a person suffering from meningococcal meningitis either through their saliva, or any other oral secretions. Precautions should be taken as it important for prevention as the saying goes: `Precaution is better than a Cure’.

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