What is Meningitis

The inflammation of the membranes, or the leptomenges and subarachnoid cerebrospinal fluid covering the central nervous system (collectively known as meninges), is known as Meningitis. The cause of most cases is microorganisms for example bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites that are spread by blood into the CSF. Often causes are associated with everyday illnesses but they sometimes get spread into the meninges.

Three layers of membranes make up the meninges and are the Pia mater, Arachniod mater and the Dura mater. The Pia is the innermost layer and is like tissue paper adhering closely to the brain, with the Arachnoid layer being the middle layer, is joined to the pia by threads that resemble a cobweb and the Dura mater, a parchment-like membrane lying on the outermost part.

The fluid circulating in spaces around the spinal cord and brain is known as the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). In years prior the majority of meningitis cases were in children under five years old but with the increased vaccinations and protections available, the largest number of cases appears in young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Viral is the most common with bacteria being less common but usually vastly more serious and dangerous and even life threatening if not attended to quickly and correctly. There are a number of bacteria that cause meningitis for instance; Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Group B Streptococcus are probably the most common in newborns.

In parts of Africa, India and other underdeveloped countries meningococcal meningitis is endemic. Spit or snot is a way to pass bacterial meningitis since it is contagious. High fever, irritability when handled, drowsiness, difficulty feeding, stiff neck and fretfulness are symptoms in infants less than a year old.

Rashes can occur from both viral and bacterial meningitis but the are very different in appearance. Specific treatments are usually used to treat complications developed from bacterial meningitis. It is very important to control the fever and relieve pain and well as a lot of rest, lots of fluids and good nutrition will help the recovery from viral meningitis.

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