What is bacterial meningitis- How does it spread?

Your brain and the spinal cord region are lined with membranes known as the meninges. In certain circumstances, they get inflamed resulting in an illness called meningitis.

There is a need to be serious about the problem particularly when you pause to give a closer look at the statistics. Every year, in the USA alone 2600 people will be diagnosed with meningitis. Unfortunately, as many as 15% fail to survive the condition.

What is it about the disease that makes it utterly dangerous?

Well, there are two forms of meningitis: bacterial and viral. While the latter tends to affect more people, the bacterial one can essentially be fatal. If no treatment procedure is carried out, it can result in paralysis, stroke and even seizure.

Therefore, it is more than necessary to focus our discussion on bacterial meningitis and know more about this form.

How can one get bacterial meningitis?

The simple answer, as the name would suggest, through the microbe: bacteria. In fact, medical scientists have been able to classify six main types that ultimately cause the illness. The most common forms include Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis (also known as meningococcus).

These bacteria are able to get in your body and reside in the environment provided to them. They would pose no harm as long as they don’t enter the brain or spinal cord. That is when the infection starts and the symptoms first start to appear,

If you have any sort of close personal contact with the person, you are far more likely to be at a risk. This contact can be anything from intercourse, kissing or any exchange of bodily fluids.

Bacteria causing meningitis are not contagious as such. Meaning by the microbes won’t travel in the air and infect others.  So, if the person with the condition, sneezes or coughs, there is no reason for others around him/her to be extremely worried. Yet, it is best to avoid close contact with the patient.

There is also one additional point to consider. Some bacteria that lead to meningitis may also be present in the food you eat. The form known as Listeria bacterium found in soft cheese, hot dogs can also result in the development of the condition. Pregnant women, older people and babies are at a greater risk of being infected by Listeria.

How is the illness prevented?

Not the case for all, but most bacteria causing meningitis can be prevented through proper immunization techniques. Vaccines for protection against meningococcus, pneumococcus and some others are widely available. For most medical scientists, getting yourself vaccinated is the key to fighting the illness. There may simply be no better approach or alternative than immunization. Needless to say, before you get yourself vaccinated, it is important to consult a doctor.

If, unfortunately, you find yourself to be possessing symptoms of meningitis, reach out to your nearest medical specialist. You are likely to be prescribed a dosage of antibiotics to get hold of the symptoms.

As mentioned earlier, if the illness is left untreated, it can particularly be very dangerous for the patient. What’s more unfortunate is that the resulting complications may last for long.

Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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