Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (called the meninges) surrounding your brain and spinal cord. This inflammation from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck. It can be caused by a viral infection, or bacterial and fungal infections.
Some cases of meningitis can improve without treatment in a few weeks. Others can be life-threatening and require hospitalization and emergency antibiotic treatment. It is important that you consult immediately if you suspect that you have meningitis. Early treatment will prevent serious complications. Delayed treatment increases the risk death.
Seek immediate medical care if you or someone in your family has meningitis symptoms like:
Viral infections are the most common cause of meningitis, followed by bacterial infections and, rarely, fungal infections. Because bacterial infections can be life-threatening, identifying the cause is essential.
Bacteria that enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain and spinal cord. It can also occur when bacteria directly invade the meninges. This may be caused by an ear or sinus infection, a skull fracture, or, rarely, after some surgeries.
Several strains of bacteria can cause acute bacterial meningitis, most commonly:
A vaccine can help prevent infection.
Viral meningitis is usually mild and often clears on its own. Most cases are caused by a group of viruses known as enteroviruses, which are most common in late summer and early fall.
Viruses such as herpes simplex virus, HIV, mumps, West Nile virus and others also can cause viral meningitis.
Slow-growing organisms (such as fungi and Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that invade the membranes and fluid surrounding your brain cause it. The symptoms – headaches, fever, vomiting and mental cloudiness – are similar to those of acute meningitis.
It is relatively uncommon and causes chronic meningitis. It may mimic acute bacterial meningitis. It isn’t contagious from person to person. Cryptococcal meningitis is a common fungal form of the disease that affects people with immune deficiencies, such as Aids.
Other meningitis causes Meningitis can also result from noninfectious causes, such as chemical reactions, drug allergies, some types of cancer and inflammatory diseases.
Must be treated immediately with antibiotics/corticosteroids.
Most cases improve on their own in several weeks.
Your doctor may start antiviral and antibiotic treatment.
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