Overview of Meningitis
Meningitis is one of the “medical emergencies” where an acute inflammation (infection) takes place in the meninges, the membranes that protect the central nervous system. The infection is usually on account of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and even fungi. Based on the source, meningitis can be aseptic, cryptococcal, due to enterobacteriaceae or tuberculous.
Meningitis is always life threatening and has a high mortality rate.
Causes and Risk Factors of Meningitis
Mostly, all forms of meningitis are caused due to an infection by a microorganism. In some, albeit very few, cases, the condition may be aseptic, which means it is either noninfectious or drug induced. If meningitis in bacterial, it’s due to an infection of any bacterium from the Enterobacteriaceae family, commonly E. coli or group B streptococci. Viral meningitis is caused by various types as well, but most responsible culprit is the herpes simplex virus. Fungal meningitis is usually of the cryptococcal variety in most cases, and has a higher risk right after an organ transplant or the excessive use of immunosuppressant.
Meningitis is also of a very broad variety and because of its lethal nature, it’s a disease that a newborn is vaccinated against right off the bat. However, if an individual has not received meningitis vaccination they stand at a very high risk of contracting this disease, especially post-surgery.
Signs and Symptoms of Meningitis
Meningitis has three signs that are considered telltale of this disease: high fever with severe headache, stiffness in neck to such an extent that you cannot turn it around anymore, and reduced mental faculties. However, all three symptoms at the same time are usually absent in half the patients of meningitis. Beyond these, irritation to light and sound will be experienced by such patients along with feeling severe chills in their extremities. Sometimes, these symptoms might come with a rash as well, especially in bacterial meningitis.