According to a video from khou.com, the recent death of a five year old boy in the Houston area from bacterial meningitis has prompted the release of a guideline video for the general public so that they can be aware of early warning signs of the potentially fatal infection. Bacterial meningitis is relatively uncommon and for most people the possibility of getting the illness is generally unlikely.
Meningitis is a disease in which the protective membranes around the spinal cord and brain, known as the meninges, become inflamed. Because of how close the inflammation is to the spine and brain, meningitis constitutes a medical emergency that must be addressed in a timely fashion. Meningitis can appear from a diverse array of causes such as certain drugs and infection from certain microbes, such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Characteristic symptoms of the disease include headaches, stiff neck, and an altered state of consciousness. Other symptoms include fever, intolerance of loud noises and light, and vomiting. Without prompt treatment, meningitis can inflict long-term problems such as cognitive disability, deafness, and epilepsy. Treatment depends on the cause, but if the disease is suspected, antibiotics are recommended as soon as possible, even if the definite diagnosis hasn’t been confirmed. In the Western world, bacterial meningitis is rare. To learn more about meningitis, click here.
Risks and Considerations for the Public
People usually get meningitis through transmission from another patient, meaning that the disease is potentially contagious. However, the bacteria species that can cause meningitis are relatively common and while many people may be exposed to them, they typically do not get the disease. People with compromised immune systems are at an elevated risk of getting bacterial meningitis. This includes young children, the elderly, and people with immune disorders such as primary immunodeficiency.
Ultimately, preventing a disastrous scenario requires a degree of vigilance and awareness about the state of one’s body. It also helps for patients do be on the look out for the characteristic symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, and neck stiffness. Timely treatment is essential if the disease is suspected. Some vaccines, such as mumps, can also prevent certain forms of meningitis.