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Bacterial meningitis is a very dangerous, contagious disease, in extreme cases fatal, which requires hospital treatment. Infection can develop over the course of a day, so if you experience symptoms you should definitely not delay seeing your doctor.

Bacterial meningitisis an infection of the protective membranes called the meninges that surround the brain and spinal cord. The outer membrane is called the dura mater, the middle - the arachnoid, and the inner - the soft dura. There is cerebrospinal fluid between the middle and inner meninges. Meningitis is a consequence of microbial infection of this fluid. Inflammation affects the meninges, and in drastic cases it spreads to the entire brain. Bacteria can enter the cerebrospinal fluid through blood from another infected area of ​​the body, e.g. as a result of pneumonia or complications otitis media or paranasal sinusitis as well as as a result of infection of wounds around the head.

Bacterial meningitis: causes

Bacterial meningitis- and doctors also diagnose viral meningitis and fungal meningitis - is the most dangerous and the most common type of this diseases. Bacterial infections account for half of all meningitis, in Poland, they affect three people per 100,000. residents. Almost all cases (90%) are purulent infections. Many types of bacteria can cause meningitis:

  • meningokoki
  • pneumococcus
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • E. coli
  • streptococci
  • staphylococci

and non-propellant characters, incl. tuberculosis and tick borne spirochetesBorrelia .

The number of carriers of these bacteria is huge, but relatively few develop meningitis. Susceptibility to infection depends on the general state of the body's immunity: the risk of contracting the disease is greater in people with cancer, diabetes, cirrhosis, immunosuppressants, alcoholics and drug addicts.

The relationship between gender has been proventhe attacking bacteria and the age of the sick person. In adults, they are usually meningococci or pneumococci, in children -E.coli . The risk of developing bacterial meningitis is increased by staying in large groups of people, e.g. in schools, dormitories, dormitories, discos. Infection is possible during close contact with a sick person or carrier of the bacteria. The infection is spread by droplets, bacteria enter the body as a result of sneezing, kissing or using shared utensils and cutlery.

Bacterial meningitis: symptoms

Disease occurs similarly regardless of the type of bacteria causing the infection. In 2-5 days the following appears:

  • high fever, temperature can be as high as 40oC
  • chills
  • neck stiffness
  • pains in muscles and joints
  • headaches and neck pains
  • nausea
  • vomiting

If the disease is severe, it may appear:

  • sensitivity to sound and light
  • disturbance of consciousness
  • convulsions
  • sleepiness
  • apathy and even loss of consciousness.

Bacterial meningitis: diagnosis and treatment

Meningitis is diagnosed by the doctor on the basis of the above symptoms and immediately prescribes a broad-spectrum antibiotic. At the same time, he orders the type of bacteria that caused the infection to be determined: this is the most urgent and most important for the application of the correct treatment, i.e. the selection of the antibiotic to which this particular type of bacteria is susceptible. The basic one here is the examination of the cerebrospinal fluid. It is collected by puncture in the lumbar region. Tests supporting the correct diagnosis are also head tomography, blood cultures and throat swabs. Treatment of bacterial meningitis consists of the intravenous administration of an appropriate antibiotic, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling drugs (to prevent swelling of the brain). You absolutely have to stay in bed in hospital conditions for at least 2-3 weeks.

The consequence of bacterial meningitis may be neurological complications, including:

  • epilepsy
  • brain abscesses
  • paresis or paralysis of limbs
  • hearing impairment
  • speech disorder
  • personality disorders

Complications concern 30% sick. Less commonly, meningitis can lead to inflammation of the heart muscle.

Vaccination prevents bacterial meningitis

The best way to prevent bacterial meningitis is through immunization (mandatory for children). Inin justified cases, after a close contact with a patient, it is possible to apply the so-called post-exposure chemoprophylaxis - a single dose of an antibiotic, which lowers the risk of falling ill in unvaccinated people. When caring for the sick, use face masks and protective gloves, wash your hands constantly and take care of hygiene.

  • In some cases, bacterial meningitis develops so quickly that the bacteria attack the blood before treatment is started. This is called blood poisoning or septic shock and is a very serious condition that can lead to a drop in blood pressure, coma, or even death.
  • Viral meningitis (as opposed to bacterial) does not heal, and the sick person heals on their own. Only painkillers and fever-lowering drugs are used.

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