It is an inflammation of the thin membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. Meningitis comes in several forms. Viral meningitis is the most common type. Viral infections enter the body through the nose or mouth and travel to the brain. It is rare to contract bacterial meningitis, but it can be fatal. An infection caused by bacteria usually starts as a cold-like illness. Damage to the brain, hearing loss, and stroke are all possible consequences. Other organs can also be affected. Infections caused by pneumococci and meningococci are the most common causes of bacterial meningitis.
The risk of meningitis increases with a weak immune system, but it can affect anyone. There is no doubt that meningitis can have serious consequences very quickly.
In the following cases, you should call 999 or attend nearest A/E:
- High fever that occurs suddenly
- An excruciating headache
- Neck stiffness
- Vomiting or nausea
Diagnosis and Treatment
Timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious problems, including death. Meningitis is diagnosed through blood tests, imaging tests, and a spinal tap to test cerebrospinal fluid. In the case of bacterial meningitis, antibiotics can be used. Viral meningitis may be helped by antiviral medicines. Symptoms can also be treated with other medicines.
Meningitis can be prevented by vaccinating against some bacteria.
To discuss diagnosis and treatment options, please book an appointment with our specialist.
To learn more about meningitis, please click on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/meningitis/
Dr Ibrahim Yahli MD MRCPsych