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Bacterial Meningitis

What is bacterial meningitis?

Bacterial meningitis is a serious illness that can be caused by a variety of bacteria. This illness is characterized by swelling of the meninges, which are membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain. 

What are the symptoms of bacterial meningitis?

Symptoms often appear suddenly, usually three to seven days after exposure to the bacteria. Fever, headaches, and a stiff neck may begin quickly and be severe. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, altered mental status, and photophobia. 

It is important to seek immediate treatment, as serious complications can result from bacterial meningitis, such as sepsis. Other complications include brain damage, learning disabilities, and hearing loss. This illness can also be fatal.

What causes bacterial meningitis?

Bacterial meningitis is caused by a variety of different bacterias. This bacteria spreads through germs from person to person, and different forms of bacteria can spread in different ways. Some are transferred from mother to baby, from coughing or sneezing, through saliva, or through food that has not been cleansed. It is important to know that one can carry a bacteria and not become ill, but they may still pass the bacteria on to another. 

Risk factors exist for bacterial meningitis, such as age. Babies are at the highest risk of this illness. Living in large group settings, such as college campuses, may also increase the chance of a meningitis outbreak. Having certain conditions, working with pathogens that can cause meningitis, and traveling to certain parts of the world also increase the risk of bacterial meningitis. 

How is bacterial meningitis diagnosed?

Doctors will take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid in order to test for bacterial meningitis. They will also test this sample in order to find the specific cause of the illness, which is important for treatment. 

What are the treatments for bacterial meningitis?

Quick treatment is essential for this illness. Doctors will prescribe multiple antibiotics. 

Prevention is important when it comes to bacterial meningitis. There are vaccines available that have greatly reduced the number of cases. It is recommended that you avoid those who are infected and maintain healthy lifestyle habits. 

Where can I find out more about bacterial meningitis?

Bacterial Meningitis Articles