Meningitis, also known as spinal meningitis, is a viral or bacterial infection causing inflammation of the membranes, called meninges. Meninges act as a natural protective barrier that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. When the barrier is permeable, infections are able to transmit a disease in or through and cause serious or even fatal effects. There are different causes for the different categories of meningitis resulting in different symptoms and severities in each.
One of the four different types of meningitis is bacterial meningitis. Neisseria meningitides is a bacterium that is seen to be the main cause of bacterial meningitis. There are multiple forms of this type of bacterium; therefore more than on strain exists of this disease. Infection that is caused by a virus or bacteria, could lead to inflammation of the natural barrier of the spinal cord and brains membranes, called the meninges. Vaccines are available for the strains A and C but unfortunately no vaccines are available for strain B of the disease. Bacterial meningitis is much more severe and possibly even fatal than another form of this disease called viral meningitis.Order now
Viral Meningitis, called aseptic meningitis, is also caused by a viral or bacterial infection, in the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. A specific virus cannot be singled out as the main cause for the viral form of this disease. It is not abnormal to have children with a mumps or herpes virus infections develop viral meningitis. Mosquito-borne viruses are also known to cause a few cases each year. Most viral meningitis cases are dealt with and resolved without treatment and clear up in a week to a week and a half.
Fungal Meningitis is also an inflammation and possible penetration of the lining around the brain and spinal cord, just like the bacterial and viral forms of this disease. The condition mostly occurs in people with a compromised or weakened immune system, known as immunocompromised, such as AIDS sufferers, that are more prone to infections and diseases. Fungal meningitis is moderately rare and outbreaks are noticed to occur when airborne yeast cells are inhaled.
Non-Infectious Meningitis can occur as well and still have the same symptoms as the other three types of this disease. Non-infectious means no bacteria, virus, or fungi had any relevance or significance in the result in this specific type of disease. A cause in non-infectious meningitis can be the result in carcinomatosis, the wide spread of cancer throughout the body. Drinking contaminated water that could possibly contain parasites could result in this type of disease and do shocking things to the body and central nervous system. Anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics have been seen to cause non-infectious meningitis along with a head injury, brain surgery, or even a skull defect at birth. All of these non-infectious causes could eventually lead to an infection of the meninges or cerebral spinal fluid.
When inflammation occurs, the barrier becomes more permeable. The bacteria invade the respiratory passages and are disseminated by the bloodstream to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) space and the meninges of the brain and spinal cord. A gathering of fluid damages the cranial nerves, destroys cerebral spinal fluid pathways, and induces vein inflammation and dilation. Cerebral edema, swelling of the brain due to the intake of water in the gray and white matter, and ischemic brain damage, a brain injury from the lack of oxygen caused by vein dilation, onsets and could result in death. Abscesses on the brain are sometimes formed from meningitis.
For the most part, all of the different types of meningitis have the same effect on the body but the severity of the symptoms may vary from one type to another. Within the first 36 hours, most people infected with any one of the meningitis diseases complain of fever, headache, irritability, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, rashes, and/or general malaise. Muscle pain along with coughing, diarrhea, and vomiting often appear in more than 50% of infected patients. Headaches are usually rated as painful and unbearable, like the feeling of a subarachnoid aneurysm and are most frequent in patients with the viral meningitis disease. Although children do not complain of headaches much, they often describe their symptoms as a lack of concentration, being uncoordinated, and sometimes irritable. A low grade fever occurs in about 76-100% of people with the disease then escalates to a higher fever as neurological sign and symptoms begin to show.
Meningitis is a disease that can kill anyone in a matter of hours and possibly even faster if there are no signs or symptoms of the presence of the infection. The disease has affected individuals worldwide but having certain qualities may hinder your chances of getting infected. As earlier stated people that have the herpes simplex virus and mumps among quite a few other things, are susceptible to obtaining the disease. People that are sixty years of age or older, children that are under five years of age, and cancer patients, especially those in chemotherapy, are at a higher risk that someone without those attributes. Those individuals exposed to meningitis at home and more often than none, people that live in close quarters, such as military barracks and college dorms, are at even a higher risk.
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