Bacterial meningitis

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Causes

There are a number of different bacteria which can cause meningitis including meningococcal, pneumococcal and group B streptococcal[1]. Though not as contagious as contagious as the common cold or flu viruses, they can still be transfered through close contact such as coughing or kissing and also prolonged contact e.g. if you are living in the same house[2]. Young children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of contracting the disease.

Symptoms and treatment

Normally symptoms of meningitis occur between 3-7 days after exposure, these can include any of the following[3]:

Meningitis is treated using antibiotics, but it is vital that treatment is started as soon as possible after infection as if left untreated certain bacteria can cause septicaemia (blood poisoning) and be life threatening[4], or lead to permenant damage. Most people make a full recovery if treated quickly, but if left untreated long term problems can occur such as hearing or vision loss, epilepsy and memory loss[5].

There are vaccines available for lots of, but not all, types of meningitis.

References

  1. https://www.meningitisnow.org/meningitis-explained/what-meningitis/types-and-causes/bacterial-meningitis/
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html
  3. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Meningitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  4. https://www.meningitisnow.org/meningitis-explained/what-meningitis/types-and-causes/bacterial-meningitis/
  5. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Meningitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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