Meningitis is a rare infection that affects the meninges.
What are meninges?
Meninges are membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can affect anyone irrespective of their age, but it is more common in children and the elderly.
There are different kinds of meningitis and they all have their causative agents ranging from bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites, protozoans, which end up spreading through the bloodstream until it reaches the brain or spinal cord and sets up in the lining or fluids around these vital parts and starts developing into a more advanced infection. Less common causes of meningitis include:
There are different types of meningitis and they include the following:
A. Bacterial meningitis
This is usually caused by a bacterium and can lead to serious illness as well as brain damage and in some cases death if not tackled properly. In many cases, bacterial meningitis starts when bacteria get into your bloodstream from your sinuses, ears, or throat. The bacteria travel through your bloodstream to your brain. The bacterium is contagious and can spread when the infected coughs or sneezes.
Example of bacteria that can cause bacterial meningitis include the following:
*Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus)
*Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus)
*Listeria monocytogenes (in older people, pregnant women, or those with immune system problems)
B. Viral meningitis
Viral meningitis is more common than the bacterial meningitis. It usually goes away without treatment, however some cases require treatment.
Example of viruses that can cause bacterial meningitis include the following:
* herpes viruses
C: Fungal meningitis
Fungal meningitis is much less common than the bacterial or viral forms. It is usually caused by a fungus that infects your body and then spreads from your bloodstream to your brain or spinal cord. You’re prone to get this form of meningitis if you have a problem with your immune system, like AIDS.
Example of fungi that can cause fungal meningitis include the following:
* Cryptococcus: this can be inhaled from dirt or soil that is contaminated with bird droppings
* Histoplasma: commonly found in environments that are heavily contaminated with the droppings of birds
D: Parasitic meningitis
Parasitic meningitis is another rare infection. This infection occur when you eat raw or half-cooked animals that are infected by parasite or their eggs or any animal products that contains the eggs of these parasites. This type of meningitis isn’t contagious.
One type of parasitic meningitis is rarer than others. It’s called eosinophilic meningitis (EM). Three main parasites are responsible for EM. These include:
* Angiostrongylus cantonensis
* Baylisascaris procyonis
* Gnathostoma spinigerum
b: Amoebic meningitis
This is under parasitic meningitis. It is a rare and usually fatal infection caused by a single-celled parasite called Naegleria fowleri. This amoeba lives in soil or warm, fresh water, but not salt water because of the salinity.
People can get it from swimming in water where the amoeba lives. The parasite can destroy the brain tissue and possibly cause hallucinations, seizures, and other serious symptoms. The most commonly recognized species is Naegleria fowleri. This infection is not contagious.
E: Non-infectious meningitis
Non-infectious meningitis is caused by diseases like lupus or cancer, or if you’ve had a head injury, brain surgery, or take certain medications. It isn’t contagious.
F: Chronic meningitis
Chronic meningitis results from infections with a fungus or the mycobacteria that caused tuberculosis. These organisms get into the tissue and fluid surrounding your brain to cause meningitis.
General symptoms of meningitis
* Increased heart rate
* Stiffness of the neck
* Reduced consciousness
* body or neck stiffness
* high-pitched crying
* irritable and grumpy
* inconsolable behaviors
* sleepy and difficulty waking
* Inability to suckle during breastfeeding
* Body and neck aches
* Confusion or disorientation
When Young adult ages out of these settings, the likelihood of an infection begins to fall.
However, after the age 60, the risk starts to rise again due to underlying diseases or health conditions that weakens the immune systems.
How Meningitis Spreads
Meningitis can spread through
* sharing food or utensils
Prevention of Meningitis
-Get adequate amounts of rest
-Eat vegetables and fruits
-Avoid contact with sick people
-Practice good hygiene
-Wash and cook animal and animal products thoroughly before consumption
-Vaccinations can protect against certain types of meningitis. Examples of vaccines:
* Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine
* pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
* meningococcal vaccine
-Avoid sharing drinks, eating utensils, or other items that may contain saliva with infected people.