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:
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.
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:
Group B streptococcus
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:
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.