Bacterial meningitis

Bacterial meningitis is a serious and potentially life-threatening infection that causes inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream and spreading to the brain and spinal cord, leading to the development of meningitis.

(Bacterial) Meningitis Pathophysiology

Common symptoms of bacterial meningitis include severe headache, neck stiffness, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, and nausea/vomiting. The disease can progress rapidly, causing seizures, coma, and even death if not treated promptly.

Diagnosis of bacterial meningitis usually involves a physical examination, analysis of cerebrospinal fluid obtained through a lumbar puncture, and laboratory tests to identify the bacteria causing the infection. Treatment typically involves the immediate administration of antibiotics to kill the bacteria and reduce the inflammation in the affected area.

Prevention of bacterial meningitis can be achieved through vaccination, particularly for infants, children, and young adults who are at high risk. It is also important to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands regularly and avoiding close contact with individuals who are sick.

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Overall, bacterial meningitis is a serious and potentially deadly disease that requires immediate medical attention. Early diagnosis, prompt treatment, and preventive measures can help reduce the risk and impact of this infection.

Disease Causes
Bacterial meningitis
  • Neisseria meningitidis: A type of bacteria that can cause meningitis when it invades the bloodstream and reaches the cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae: Another bacterium commonly responsible for bacterial meningitis, especially in children and older adults.
  • Haemophilus influenzae: Previously a major cause of meningitis in children, but since the introduction of vaccinations, its incidence has significantly reduced.
  • Listeria monocytogenes: This bacterium is often associated with foodborne illnesses and can lead to meningitis, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems or during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Bacterial Meningitis

  • High fever
  • Severe headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Confusion or decreased mental alertness
  • Seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin rash (in some cases)
  • Severe muscle pain or joint stiffness
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Increased heart rate
  • Poor feeding (in infants)
  • Irritability (in infants)