Treatment, especially preventive, varies depending on the type of meningitis. So from the first symptoms, it is important to determine the compressed form.
Meningitis: A general definition
Grouped under the term meningitisInflammation of the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (Which makes up the central nervous system), and cerebrospinal fluid. Meningitis is often the resultAn infection, which may be related to a virus (This is called viral meningitis), To a bacterium (Bacterial meningitis) Even a fungus or a parasite.
How do you know if you have viral or bacterial meningitis?
The clinical manifestations, signs and symptoms of meningitis vary relatively little, whether it is meningitis of viral or bacterial origin.
They usually start suddenly, with Meningeal syndrome (Stiff neck, lethargy, sensitivity to light, also known as photophobia, impaired consciousness, coma or convulsions) An infectious syndrome, With a strongFeverSevere headache, nausea, vomiting.
What are the symptoms of meningitis in children?
Keep in mind that symptoms are sometimes less specific in young children or even adolescents. Some are present ConvulsionsEspecially in the case of bacterial meningitis.
In children, a Excessive fever Sudden onset should be considered as a warning sign and prompt Emergency adviceEspecially if there is a lazy condition limited to abnormal behavior, endless crying and / or unconsciousness.
Pneumococcus, or Streptococcus pneumoniae, A family of bacteria capable of causing a variety of infections, from pneumonia to otitis, including sinusitis. Rarely, pneumococci can cause meningitis, usually following an ENT condition (otitis media, colds, etc.). Very old and children under one year of age are particularly at risk, as well as immunocompromised individuals.
There is now a vaccine against pneumococcal infections, which contains 13 bacterial serogroups and which is one of the 11 mandatory vaccines for children. This vaccine is given In three doses: at 2 months, 4 months and 11 months of age.
Meningococcal meningitis caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis
Meninococcal bacteria Neisseria meningitidis Is the main cause of meningitis, and is proven to be the only family of bacterial species capable of causing an epidemic of meningitis. There are 13 strains or serogroups in this bacterial family. Let’s specifically mention Meningococcal meningitis B-type And type C, the most common in EuropeAs well as strains A, W, X and Y.
In France, in 2018, according to data from the National Reference Center in Meninococci and Haemophilus influenzae From the Institute Pasteur, 416 cases for which serogroups were known, 51% from serogroup B, 13% from C, 21% from W, 13% from Y and 2% from rare or non-serogroupable serogroups.
Bacteria Neisseria meningitidis Is Normally 1 to 10% of the population is present in the ENT sphere (throat, nose) (Outside the epidemic period), according to the World Health Organization (WHO). But it happens that this bacterium suppresses the immune system and triggers meningitis, especially in children, young people, adolescents or young people and immunocompromised people.
Meninococcal contamination occurs during close contact with the carrier, Through oral discharge (Saliva, cough, spit). Infection by these bacteria can then be confined to the ENT sphere or, in the case of insufficient immunity, especially in the absence of a vaccine, spread through the bloodstream and reach the meninges.
Purpura: Red or purple spots, an important emergency
Sudden appearance a purpura fulminans, I.e., red to purple bloody spots under the skin, a medical emergency and a measure of the severity of meningococcal infection. He needs emergency hospitalization.
Which vaccine against meningococcal meningitis?
There are currently several types of meningococcal vaccines, but not all:
- Vaccine against meningococcal type C.Mandatory, two doses at 5 and 12 months or at a single dose rate from 12 months of age and up to 24 years of age, for those who have not previously received the primary vaccine.
- Type B meningococcal vaccine, called Bexero ;
- Tetravalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine Against serogroups A, C, Y.W135, is also recommended in certain situations.
Most of the healthy adults are mild but are infected by bacteria Listeria monocytogenesKnown as listeriosis, it can cause symptoms and complications in infants, young children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised patients. It can then lead to meningitis. Hence the importance of respecting diet and hygiene recommendations during pregnancy and infancy, among other things, by avoiding raw milk cheese, raw, smoked or undercooked meats.
Haemophilus influenzae and Escherichia coli, other causative bacteria
In meningitis Haemophilus influenzae (Hib) Decades ago it was very common among children under the age of five. The Vaccine againstHaemophilus influenzaeFirst recommended and then made mandatory, this has reduced the incidence of meningitis and pneumonia caused by these bacteria.
There are also notes Bacterial-related meningitis Escherichia coli, Which can be transmitted through food during delivery or even into a newborn due to contact with the mother’s genitals. Underweight and premature babies are most at risk and this meningitis is then very severe. Affected children often suffer brain damage.
Meningitis can also occur Of viral origin, In other words, due to a virus. During viral meningitis, meningeal syndrome, in which various symptoms (headache, photophobia, nausea and vomiting) predominate. Although it can be terrible, viral meningitis Usually benign and its results are often favorable.
Viral meningitis is often caused by a virus from the enterovirus family (such as ecovirus or coxsackie virus), but can also occur after other viral infections such as chickenpox, measles, mumps (in vaccinated or non-vaccinated populations), herpes, and HIV infection. Even herpes (especially in immunocompromised people). In addition to the lack of immunity, healing occurs spontaneously within a few days and without a sequel.
Facing a child with symptoms of meningitis, because it is not possible to differentiate viral meningitis from its bacterial form through clinical trials, A consultation, or even hospitalization, is recommended. A lumbar puncture and blood test will help refine the diagnosis.
Remember that enteroviruses that can cause viral meningitis are transmitted Through direct or indirect contact with saliva, saliva, nasal mucus or stool. Also, babies and young children, who put toys in their mouths and share their cutlery, are more likely to infect each other. Adults who come in contact with infected children can also be infected.
Fungal or parasitic meningitis: Very rare
Meningitis caused by fungi is very rare (East, Histoplasma capsulatum, Cryptococcus neoformans, Candida albicans Where Candida spp. Especially), or fungal meningitis, and meningitis is associated with a parasite, especially with toxoplasmosis.
This rare meningitis is more common in immunocompromised people, especially those whose immune systems are severely weakened by AIDS, cancer, post-transplant rejection, and so on. In premature babies with very low birth weight. Treatment is then based on taking antifungal drugs.
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