Meningitis is a disease of the meninges. It is the acute inflammation of the meninges. Meninges are the membrane that covers the central nervous system. This includes both the spinal cord and the brain. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of meningitis include fever, the stiffness of the neck, and headache. Other symptoms of this disease include confusion, consciousness, vomiting, patients become oversensitive to light and loud noises. Children, when affected with this disease do not present with specific symptoms. However, they usually do present with symptoms like irritability, weakness and poor feeding. The presence of rash would indicate that the patient has meningococcemia. This disease could be caused by various organisms, which includes viruses, bacteria, and even by some medications. This disease can be dangerous if it’s not managed well. Physicians diagnose this disease by taking samples from the patient. Lumbar puncture is mostly done to exclude other diseases. This is done by inserting the needle into the lumbar canal, to obtain a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid is then tested and examined in the laboratory for the presence of organisms. Meningitis can be prevented through vaccination. Physicians also treat this disease by administering antibiotics. However, this is used when the disease is caused by bacteria. Antiviral drugs are used if it’s caused by virus. Drugs such as corticosteroids can also be used to prevent the complications of severe inflammation of the meninges. Apart from administering antibiotics, fluids, and other medications, stem cell therapy is will soon become a more effective, and a good alternative to the present way of treating meningitis. According to a journal posted by the Pediatrics Transplantation journal, it was discovered that a 19-year-old patient was successfully treated with by the administration of allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Meningitis?
The signs and symptoms of meningitis depend on the disease depends on the age of the patient, and the severity of the disease. Below are some of the signs and symptoms in anyone above the age of 2;
- Sudden onset of fever.
- Stiff neck
- The appearance of rash on the skin
- Loss of appetite.
- Difficulty in sleeping and waking
- Severe headache that is different from the normal ones.
- Patients also develop a headache with vomiting and nausea
Signs and symptoms presented by newborns include the following;
- Poor feeding
- Rigidity in the baby’s body and neck.
- Persistent and abnormally frequent crying
- Excessive sleeping
- They might also be very irritable.
What Are The Causes Of Meningitis?
Meningitis is a severe infectious disease that can be caused by either bacteria or virus. Other less common causes of this disease are fungi, cancer drugs, autoimmunity, tuberculosis and syphilis.
- Bacterial meningitis: Bacteria enter the body, and spread through the blood, to the central nervous system. As earlier mentioned, this includes the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis is usually severe. It’s important to seek medical help when noticed. This disease can lead to the damage to the brain or even death if not properly managed. There a number of bacteria that can cause this disease. Some of these bacteria are Streptococcus pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Neisseria meningitides and Listeria. In most cases, this disease starts when bacteria gain access and infects the blood through the sinuses, ears or the throat. These bacteria then travel from the place to the brain. The bacteria are spread when the infected individual sneezes or coughs. Below are some of the common bacterial meningitis;
- Streptococcus pneumonia: This is the most prevalent type of bacterial meningitis in infants, children, and adults. It can be prevented by vaccination
- Neisseria Meningitides: This is also another common type of bacterial meningitis. This disease leads to the development of upper respiratory infections. However, it can also cause meningococcal meningitis, when they spread into the blood. This type of meningitis is highly contagious, and it occurs mainly in children and young adults. This disease may lead to local epidemics in hostels, military bases, and so on.
- Haemophilus influenza: This type of meningitis is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children.
- Listeria monocytogenes: This type of bacteria are present in food materials such as in hot dogs, cheeses and so on. People with an immunosuppressed system have more risks of being affected by
- Viral meningitis: This type of meningitis is usually less serious as compared to bacterial meningitis. There are some viral diseases that can induce the development of this disease. Some of these diseases are mumps virus, varicella zoster virus, and herpes simplex virus.
- Fungal meningitis: This type of meningitis rarely occurs; it mostly happens to individuals that have a compromised immune system. Examples of people that can have fungal meningitis are individuals undergoing an immunosuppression therapy, and also people with a disease like AIDS. The most common fungal meningitis is cryptococcal meningitis. This is the most prevalent cause of death in patients affected by AIDS, in Africa.
- Parasitic meningitis: This type of meningitis is caused by some parasites such as Schistosoma, cysticercosis and so on. The can be detected by the presence of a large number of eosinophils in the cerebrospinal fluid.
- Other causes of meningitis: This disease may occur as a result of the metastasis of cancer from one part of the body to the meninges. In addition, there are some drugs that can induce the development of meningitis, some of these medications are antibiotics, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Meningitis can also be caused by the other diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis and so on.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Meningitis?
- Age: Meningitis is more common in children, under the age of 5, especially viral meningitis, and bacterial meningitis is prevalent in people under the age of 20.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women usually have a suppressed immune system. This increases the chances of getting infected
Stem Cell Therapy And Meningitis
Apart from administering antibiotics, fluids, and other medications, stem cell therapy is will soon become a more effective, and a good alternative to the present way of treating meningitis. According to a journal posted by the Pediatrics Transplantation journal, it was discovered that a 19-year-old patient was successfully treated with by the administration of allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
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Chaaban, S., Wheat, L. and Assi, M. (2014). Cryptococcal meningitis post autologous stem cell transplantation. Transplant Infectious Disease, 16(3), pp.473-476.
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Trubetskoy, A. (2004). Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Diagnosed Enteroviral Meningitis in Adults with Aseptic Meningitis. Academic Emergency Medicine, 11(5), pp.554-554.