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Meningitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment

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Meningitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment
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Meningitis is a serious illness that an very quickly develop.  The illness which affects the brain can be fatal if not diagnosed quickly enough.  The illness develops following bacterial infection.  According to Institut Pasteur, the bacteria responsible for this serious illness vary depending on age and don’t immediately attack the brain. 

How does meningitis develop?

Meningitis generally develops when bacteria or the virus enters the liquid that surrounds the brain.  Either the virus enters directly following a neurological surgery or it is transported by the blood arising from an infection elsewhere in the body such as pneumonia (a pulmonary infection).  However, the exact causes of meningitis development are unknown.

Meningitis:  what are the symptoms?

Here are some precursor symptoms of meningitis or associated symptoms:

  • Angina,
  • Ear ache,
  • Sudden bouts of fever,
  • Extreme sore heads,
  • Vomiting,
  • Stiffness in your neck,
  • Consciousness difficulties…

You should contact your doctor quickly if several of these symptoms develop as meningitis can sometimes lead to a coma.  If a person displaying these symptoms losses consciousness or is having difficulty remaining conscious you should call 999.

In some cases, red marks can appear on the skin (purpura).  These marks are a sign that the infection is serious can highlight a septic shock threat.

How do you treat meningitis?

When meningitis has been diagnosed, the person affect is urgently admitted to hospital and given an antibiotic treatment.  According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “even when the illness is diagnosed very early and an appropriate course of treatment is carried out between 5 and 10% die within 24 to 48 hours following the appearance of the first symptoms.”

For people who can be cured, meningitis can lead to neurological complications, deafness and learning difficulties.  In France in 2016 there were 526 cases of meningitis, of 63 died from there symptoms and 24 suffered after effects.

These dramatic consequences can be avoided through vaccination which means that you can be immunised against the main strains of meningococci called serogroups which causes  99% of the cases of this invasive infection. This vaccine is one of the 11 vaccines required since 1 January 2018 for children under 2 years old.

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