Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Meningitis - What it is, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention


The word meningitis is from Greek μῆνιγξ méninx, "membrane" and the medical suffix -itis, "inflammation".

In 2015 meningitis occurred in about 8.7 million people worldwide and this resulted to the death of 379,000 persons.

With appropriate treatment the risk of death in bacterial meningitis is less than 15%.

Outbreaks of bacterial meningitis occur between December and June each year in an area of sub-Saharan Africa known as the meningitis belt.

It consists of part of or all of (from West to East), the Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea.

The "belt" has an estimated 300 million people in its total area.

This region is not only prone to meningitis, but also very prone to epidemics such as malaria.

Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges.

This inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. called the Cerebrospinal fluid

Meningitis is usually caused by bacteria or viruses, but can be a result of injury, cancer, or certain drugs.


Bacterial Meningitis

Meningitis caused by bacteria, like Streptococcus pneumoniae, group B Streptococcus, and Neisseria meningitidis can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Vaccines are available to help protect against some kinds of bacterial meningitis.

Viral Meningitis

Meningitis caused by viruses, like enteroviruses, arboviruses and herpes simplex viruses, is serious but often is less severe than bacterial meningitis, and people with normal immune systems usually get better on their own.  There are vaccines to prevent some kinds of viral meningitis

Fungal Meningitis

Fungal meningitis is caused by fungi like Cryptococcus and Histoplasma and is usually acquired by inhaling fungal spores from the environment. People with certain medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, or HIV are at higher risk of fungal meningitis.

Parasitic Meningitis

Various parasites can cause meningitis or can affect the brain or nervous system in other ways. Overall, parasitic meningitis is much less common than viral and bacterial meningitis.

Amoebic Meningitis

Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) is a rare and devastating infection of the brain that is caused by a free-living microscopic ameba called Naegleria fowleri which is found naturally in warm water and soil

Non-infections Meningitis

Sometimes meningitis is not spread from person to person, but is instead caused by cancers, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), certain drugs, head injury, and brain surgery


The most common symptoms are 

Other symptoms include 

confusion or altered consciousness,


Young children often exhibit only nonspecific symptoms, such as irritability, drowsiness, or poor feeding.

If a rash is present, it may indicate a particular cause of meningitis; for instance, meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria may be accompanied by a characteristic rash.

Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord; therefore, the condition is classified as a medical emergency


Anyone suspected of having contracted meningitis should be rushed to the nearest hospital without delay and this is because untreated meningitis or meningitis treated late may result in death or untoward long term health consequences such as deafness, epilepsy, hydrocephalus (in children) or cognitive deficits.


The attending Physician after making an initial diagnosis of Meningitis would commence the Patient on intravenous drips and antibiotics pending the result of the tests.

Sometimes corticosteroids are used to prevent complications from excessive inflammation


Some forms of meningitis are preventable by immunization with the meningococcal, mumpspneumococcal, and Hib vaccines.

Giving antibiotics to people with significant exposure to certain types of meningitis may also be useful

In Nigeria as at today, Cerebrospinal Meningitis is ravaging 15 States, 90 LGAs are currently under the attack and 338 persons have so far died

The States are

FCT Abuja














Cross River

What to do?

Avoid crowded places

Keep far away from all persons who are coughing or sneezing incessantly

Avoid handshake

Avoid kissing people

Avoid contacts with other people's sweat

Maintain a good personal hygiene

Avoid self medication

Go for vaccination

Do all you can to stay alive

Source:     Wikipedia