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Spinal Meningitis

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Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and fluid that surrounds a person's brain. It is sometimes referred to as Spinal Meningitis. It's usually caused by either a bacterial or viral infection. As you read through this paper you will learn how Meningitis is transmitted, its symptoms, its effects, and even the incidences it has caused.

The common symptoms of anyone over two years old is high fever, headache, and stiff neck. Symptoms can develop over several hours or even one to two days. Other symptoms include vomiting, nausea, confusion, sleepiness, and discomfort looking at bright lights. As for newborns and small infants, the classical symptoms may be difficult to detect or absent. They may only appear slow or inactive, or be irritable, have vomiting, or be feeding poorly. Seizures occur, as the disease progresses, to patients of any age. (Centers for Disease Control, {CDC} 2004)

Some forms of bacterial meningitis are contagious. They are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. The spread of the disease is facilitated by close and prolonged contact. (CDC, 2004) For example: kissing someone, coughing or sneezing on a person, living in close quarters, and sharing eating or drinking utensils. The incubation period is on an average of four days, ranging from

two to ten days. (World Health Organization, {WHO} 2004)

Five to ten percent of patients die, even when the disease is diagnosed early and adequate therapy is instituted. Typically within twenty-four to forty-eight hours of onset of symptoms. Ten to fifteen percent of cases are fatal. Ten to fifteen percent of patients who recover have permanent hearing loss, mental retardation, loss of limbs, brain damage, or learning disability in ten to twenty percent of survivors. (WHO, 2004) The groups at risk for this disease include the general population, infants and young children, refugees, household contacts of case patients, military recruits, college freshmen who live in dormitories, people exposed to firsthand and secondhand smoke, and microbiologists who work with isolates of Neisseria Meningitidis. (CDC, 2004)

In 1887, the causative agent Neisseria Meningitidis, the meningococcus, was identified. Because of its potential to cause epidemics, Neisseria Meningitidis is one of the most important types. In 1805, when Meningococcal disease was first described, an outbreak swept through Geneva, Switzerland. Twelve subtypes of Neisseria Meningitidis have been identified. Four of them have been recognized to cause epidemics. Those four are: A, B, C, and W135. The capabilities differ of the pathogenicity, immunogenicity, and

epidemic according to the serogroup. Thus it is crucial to the identification of the serogroup responsible for epidemic containment. (WHO, 2004)

The diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis is suspected by the clinical presentation and a lumbar puncture showing a purulent spinal fluid. Sometimes the bacteria can be seen in the spinal fluid by microscopic examination. Identification of the serogroups as well as testing for susceptibility to antibiotics require more specialized laboratory tests. By growing the bacteria from specimens of spinal fluid or blood, the diagnosis can be confirmed. (WHO, 2004)

Meningitis occurs sporadically



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