Meningitis Is Contagious To Pregnant Women Or Not? | Blog By Dr. Monica Agarwal Parasbliss Panchkula
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Is Meningitis contagious to Pregnant Women?

Is Meningitis contagious to Pregnant Women?

by: Dr. Monica Agarwal
Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology - Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Meningitis is a rare infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord called as meninges. It is of 3 types-

  • Viral- Less severe and people generally recover completely
  • Bacterial- It is dangerous and contagious among people in close contact
  • Fungal- Very rare and in people with low immunity

Types of Meningitis:

Bacterial Meningitis

It is very serious. Can lead to death or permanent damage to brain and other parts of body. It spreads from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Bacteria can go into the ears, sinuses and upper respiratory tract and can then enter the bloodstream and enter the brain and cause serious disease. Pregnant women have low immunity and hence should stay away from people who are coughing, sneezing or having fever.

Pregnant Woman Consultation. (Photo by: Media for Medical/UIG via Getty Images)

It is contagious and can occur in people living in close contact or traveling to areas where meningitis is common. Usually it does not cause problems for the unborn baby. Common types causing disease are:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Group B streptococcus
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Listeria monocytogenes

Viral Meningitis

It is more common but less serious. It can be caused by a number of viruses. People usually recover without any treatment. Rest and painkillers are given.Certain people are at increased risk of contracting viral meningitis, such as having chronic disease or immune system disorder.

Signs and symptoms of Meningitis:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Photophobia
  • Confusion

Treatment of Meningitis

Antibiotics are to be given in bacterial cases as early as possible. If you or your known is suffering from any of the above mentioned signs and symptoms, it is recommended that you consult a specialist at the earliest.

Prevention of Meningitis

 Vaccines are available against Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Hib.

Pregnant women should get tested for group B streptococcus at 35-37 weeks and if positive given antibiotics to prevent transmission to the newborn. They should avoid unsafe food and consume only hygienic food to avoid infections.

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