Meningitis what is meningitis?



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MENINGITIS





What is meningitis?……

  • The brain and spinal cord are covered by connective tissue layers collectively called the meninges which form the blood-brain barrier.

  • 1-the pia mater (closest to the CNS)

  • 2-the arachnoid mater

  • 3-the dura mater (farthest from the CNS).

  • The meninges contain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

  • Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, which, if severe, may become encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.





Meningitis can be caused by many different organisms including viruses and bacteria.

  • Meningitis can be caused by many different organisms including viruses and bacteria.

  • Meningitis, caused by a bacteria, is life threatening and requires urgent medical attention and treatment with antibiotics.

  • Meningitis caused by a virus is very rarely life threatening but can cause the body to become very weak.

  • When bacteria invade the body they can cause meningitis, septicaemia or meningitis and septicaemia together



Causes of Meningitis

  • -Bacterial Infections

  • -Viral Infections

  • -Fungal Infections

    • (Cryptococcus neoformans
    • Coccidiodes immitus)
  • -Inflammatory diseases

  • (SLE)

  • Cancer

  • -Trauma to head or spine.



Bacterial meningitis….. Etiological Agents:

  • Pneumococcal, Streptococcus pneumoniae (38%)

  • Meningococcal, Neisseria meningitidis (14%)

  • Haemophilus influenzae (4%)

  • Staphylococcal, Staphylococcus aureus (5%)

  • Tuberculous, Mycobacterium tuberculosis



Bacterial Meningitis

  • Potentially life threatening disease.

  • One million cases per year world wide. 200,000 die annually.

  • Can affect all age groups but some are at higher risk.

  • Treatment available : antibiotics as per causative organism

  • Humans are the reservoir .

  • Pneumococcal meningitis is the most common type. Approximately 6,000 cases/yr

  • Haemophilus meningitis: Since 1985 Incidence has declined by 95% due to the introduction of Haemophilus influenza b vaccine.

  • Other bacterial meningitis caused by E-Coli K-1, Klebsiella species and Enterobacter species are less common overall, but may be more prevalent in newborns, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised hosts.



Etiological Agent: Neisseria meningitidis

  • Etiological Agent: Neisseria meningitidis

  • Clinical Features: sudden onset. F,H,N,V

  • Reservoir: Humans only. 5-15% healthy carriers

  • Mode of transmission: direct contact with patients oral or nasal secretions. Saliva.

  • Incubation period: 1-10 days. Usually 2-4 days

  • Infectious period: as long as meningococci are present in oral secretions or until 24 hrs of effective antibiotic therapy

  • Epidemiology:

  • Sporadic cases worldwide.

  • “Meningitis belt” –sub-Saharan Africa into India/Nepal.

  • In US most cases seen during late winter and early spring.

  • Children under five and adolescent most susceptible. Overcrowding e.g. dormitories and military training camps predispose to spread of infection.



Aseptic Meningitis

  • Definition: A syndrome characterized by acute onset of meningeal symptoms, fever, and cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis, with bacteriologically sterile cultures.

  • Laboratory criteria for diagnosis:

  • CSF showing ≥ 5 WBC/cu mm

  • No evidence of bacterial or fungal meningitis.

  • Case classification

  • Confirmed: a clinically compatible illness diagnosed by a physician as aseptic meningitis, with no laboratory evidence of bacterial or fungal meningitis

  • Comment

  • Aseptic meningitis is a syndrome of multiple etiologies, but most cases are caused by a viral agent



Viral Meningitis

  • Etiological Agents:

    • Enteroviruses (Coxsackie's and echovirus): most common.
    • -Adenovirus
    • -Arbovirus
    • -Measles virus
    • -Herpes Simplex Virus
    • -Varicella
  • Reservoirs:

    • -Humans for Enteroviruses, Adenovirus, Measles, Herpes Simplex, and Varicella
    • -Natural reservoir for arbovirus birds, rodents etc.
  • Modes of transmission:

    • -Primarily person to person and arthopod vectors for Arboviruses
  • Incubation Period:

    • -Variable. For enteroviruses 3-6 days, for arboviruses 2-15 days
  • Treatment: No specific treatment available.

  • Most patients recover completely on their own.



Non Polio Enteroviruses

  • Types:62 different types known:

    • -23 Coxsackie A viruses,
    • -6 Coxsackie B viruses,
    • -28 echoviruses, and 5 other
  • How common?

    • -90% of all viral meningitis is caused by Enteroviruses
    • -Second only to "common cold" viruses, the rhinoviruses.
    • -Estimated 10-15 million/ more symptomatic infections/yr in US
  • Who is at risk? Everyone.

  • How does infection spread? Virus present in the respiratory secretions & stool of a patient.

  • Direct contact with secretions from an infected person.

  • Parents, teachers, and child care center workers may also become infected by contamination of the hands with stool.



When bacteria cause disease i.e. meningococcal disease the body can be affected in different ways:

  • When bacteria cause disease i.e. meningococcal disease the body can be affected in different ways:

  • Meningitis - bacteria enter the blood stream and travel to the meninges and cause inflammation.

  • Septicaemia - when bacteria are present in the blood stream they can multiply rapidly and release toxins that poison the blood. (The rash associated with meningitis is due to septicaemia.)

  • Meningitis and septicaemia often occur together.



Meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia may not always be easy to detect, in early stages the symptoms can be similar to flu.  They may develop over one or two days, but sometimes develop in a matter of hours. It is important to remember that symptoms do not appear in any particular order and some may not appear at all.

  • Meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia may not always be easy to detect, in early stages the symptoms can be similar to flu.  They may develop over one or two days, but sometimes develop in a matter of hours. It is important to remember that symptoms do not appear in any particular order and some may not appear at all.



:Babies and Young Children

  • :Babies and Young Children

  • -High temperature, fever, possibly with cold hands and feet

  • -Vomiting or refusing feeds

  • -High pitched moaning, whimpering cry

  • -Blank, staring expression

  • -Pale, blotchy complexion

  • -Stiff neck

  • -Arched back

  • -Baby may be floppy, may dislike being handled, be fretful

  • -Difficult to wake or lethargic

  • -The fontanelle (soft spot on babies heads) may be tense or bulging.





-High temperature, fever, possibly with cold hands and feet.

  • -High temperature, fever, possibly with cold hands and feet.

  • -Vomiting, sometimes diarrhoea.

  • -Severe headache.

  • -Joint or muscle pains, sometimes stomach cramps.

  • -Neck stiffness (unable to touch the chin to the chest)

  • -Dislike of bright lights.

  • -Drowsiness.

  • The patient may be confused or disorientated. Fitting may also be seen.

  • A rash may develop.





One of the physically demonstrable symptoms of meningitis is Kernig's sign. Severe stiffness of the hamstrings causes an inability to straighten the leg when the hip is flexed to 90 degrees.

  • One of the physically demonstrable symptoms of meningitis is Kernig's sign. Severe stiffness of the hamstrings causes an inability to straighten the leg when the hip is flexed to 90 degrees.



Another physically demonstrable symptoms of meningitis is Brudzinski's sign. Severe neck stiffness causes a patient's hips and knees to flex when the neck is flexed.

  • Another physically demonstrable symptoms of meningitis is Brudzinski's sign. Severe neck stiffness causes a patient's hips and knees to flex when the neck is flexed.



In the early stages, signs and symptoms can be similar to many other more common illnesses, foe example flu. Early symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea (feeling sick), vomiting and general tiredness.

  • In the early stages, signs and symptoms can be similar to many other more common illnesses, foe example flu. Early symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea (feeling sick), vomiting and general tiredness.

  • The common signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia are shown above. Others can include rapid breathing, diarrhoea and stomach cramps. In babies, check if the soft spot (fontanelle) on the top of the head is tense or bulging.



One sign of meningococcal septicaemia is a rash that does not fade under pressure (see ‘Glass test’)

  • One sign of meningococcal septicaemia is a rash that does not fade under pressure (see ‘Glass test’)

  • -This rash is caused by blood leaking under the skin. It starts anywhere on the body. It can spread quickly to look like fresh bruises.

  • -This rash is more difficult to see on darker skin. Look on the paler areas of the skin and under the eyelids.



  • A rash that does not fade under pressure will still be visible when the side of a clear drinking glass is pressed firmly against the skin.

  • If someone is ill or obviously getting worse, do not wait for a rash. It may appear late or not at all.

  • A fever with a rash that does not fade under pressure is a medical emergency.



Contact your GP immediately. If you GP is not available, go straight to your nearest accident and emergency department.

  • Contact your GP immediately. If you GP is not available, go straight to your nearest accident and emergency department.

  • Describe the symptoms carefully and say that you think it could be meningitis or septicaemia

  • Early diagnosis can be difficult. If you have seen a doctor and are still worried, don’t be afraid to ask for medical help again





Public Health Importance

  • Challenges:

    • -Educating public
    • -Timely reporting and records keeping
    • -Updating information daily.
    • -Alleviating public anxiety and concerns
    • -Collaborating with health partners
  • Opportunities:

    • -Educating public
    • -Communication
    • -Strengthening partnerships





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