Meningitis & Septicaemia - Health Center

Meningitis & Septicaemia

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Meningitis & Septicaemia - Overview

Meningitis is better known as the inflammation of the inner membranes – Menings of the brain. Menings are the thin layered membranes which surround the brain and the spinal cord of the person. The swelling which accompanies Meningitis goes out to trigger some of the major signs and symptoms which help the doctors in the determination of the malady. Some of the classic symptoms are headache followed by fever and stiffness in the neck.

Most of the cases of Meningitis are caused due to the viral infections. Bacterial and Fungal infections too can be some of the other causative factors behind the occurrence of the disease. Depending upon the causative factor of the disease as well its period of infection, it can either get better within a few weeks on its own or would need hospitalization and an antibiotic treatment.

In case you suspect that someone is suffering from the disease, it is recommended to see the doctor immediately about this. An early treatment for Meningitis can prevent serious complications that may arise later on.

Causes of Meningitis

Viral and Bacterial infections are the major reasons for the occurrence of Meningitis. In some of the cases, fungal infections too are known to cause the disease.

In most of the cases, meningitis can be life threatening and therefore, identification of the source of infection is very vital in order to get the right course of treatment.

Bacterial Meningitis: This kind of meningitis occurs when bacterium enter the blood stream and migrate towards the brain and the spinal cord. Some of the main bacterium which is responsible for causing this kind of meningitis is as follows:

  • Pneumococcus: These are the most common strain of bacteria responsible for Meningitis. They affect basically the children and young adults. It causes sinus and pneumonia. Vaccines are available to avoid the occurrence of this disease.
  • Meningococcus: This is another one of the bacteria which is responsible for the occurrence of meningitis. This bacterium enters the human body through a respiratory infection. This kind of infection is greatly infectious and tends to spread in epidemics amongst youngsters. A vaccine is in place to treat this kind of infection.
  • Haemophilus: HIB bacterium is thought to be one of the biggest reasons for the occurrence of Meningitis amongst children. However, with the use of the vaccines is widespread.
  • Viral Meningitis: This is meningitis is mild as compared to the bacterial ones. Viruses known by the name of Enteroviruses is responsible for the cause of this kind of meningitis. These viruses circulate mostly in the months of summer and early fall. Some of the other viruses which are responsible for causing HIV, mumps as well as for herpes are the ones which are responsible for causing Viral Meningitis.
  • Chronic Meningitis: This occurs when the slow growing organisms engulf the brain as well as fluid (Cerebro spinal fluid) surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. Though this kind of meningitis attacks suddenly, the incubation period for this can occur for around 2 weeks or more. Some of the major symptoms for this kind of meningitis is headaches, fever, vomiting as well as mental illness.
  • Fungal Meningitis: This is very uncommon and can mimic the bacterial meningitis. However, this kind of meningitis is not contagious and therefore, can be treated with the help of an antifungal medication.

Signs and Symptoms of Meningitis

It is very simple in order to look for the signs and symptoms of Meningitis. Some of the major symptoms in adults are as follows:

  •          High fever
  •          Headache
  •          Stiffness in the neck
  •          Vomiting and nausea
  •          Seizures
  •          Confusion and difficulty in concentrating
  •          Sleepiness
  •          Skin rashes all over the body
  •          Loss of interest in eating or drinking

It is recommended to see a doctor in case a person is suffering from these symptoms. Viral Meningitis can be treated without the help of any treatment. Antibiotics can be used in order to speed up the treatment process. In case the treatments are delayed, then it can lead to permanent brain damage and can prove fatal to the patient as well.

Tests and Diagnosis of Meningitis

Based on the physical examination as well as after viewing the family history of the patient along with some basic tests doctors can determine the condition. Some of the major diagnostic techniques are as follows:

  • Blood Cultures: In this, the blood samples of the patients are drawn out and they are allowed to grow in a culture in the laboratory. If it grows in the presence of the microorganisms, especially in bacterium, then it tests positive for Meningitis.
  • Imaging: in this the X rays and the CT scans of the head, chest as well as the sinuses are looked for signs of swelling and inflammation. These can help the doctors in order to look for possible infections that can be linked to meningitis.
  • Spinal Tab: This is one of the most definitive ways to check the person for Meningitis. An analysis of Cerebro Spinal Fluid is done by using a Spinal Tap. If a person is suffering from Meningitis, then it is made sure that the sugar and glucose levels have dropped along with a high amount of WBC’s in the blood stream.

Also, with the help of this technique, the doctors can make sure as to which bacterium is responsible for the occurrence of Meningitis. PCR amplification test is also used in order to check the antibodies for some certain kinds of viruses that can determine the cause of the disease.

Treatment of Meningitis

The treatment options for different types of Menigntis are as follows:

  • Bacterial Meningitis: This requires a complete treatment regimen accompanied with antibiotics as well as cortisone medications. This is prescribed in order to reduce the risk of the complications such as brain damage as well as seizures. Also, doctors can choose the antibiotics based on the kind of bacterium which has caused the infection. A broad spectrum antibiotic can be used till the reason has been determined.
  • Viral Meningitis: Antibiotics are deemed moot in case of this kind of meningitis. These cases tend to improve on their own. Some of the best ways to improve one’s health is to take plenty of bed rest followed by an increased intake of fluids as well as taking over the counter medications in order to relieve the person of the pain and the fever.
  • Other kinds of Meningitis: In case of other kinds of meningitis, such as fungal meningitis, antifungal medications can be used for the treatment. Chronic Meningitis can be treated once the underlying cause for the disease has been found. Non infectious meningitis which is caused due to allergic reactions can be easily taken care of with the help of cortisone medications. In some rare case, no treatment is required as the condition heals on its own in a couple of days.
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