BACTERIAL MENINGITIS

Posted by e-Medical PPT Friday, October 8, 2010

Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges.The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms, and less commonly by certain drugs. Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord; therefore the condition is classified as a medical emergency.
In adults, a severe headache is the most common symptom of meningitis – occurring in almost 90% of cases of bacterial meningitis, followed by nuchal rigidity (inability to flex the neck forward passively due to increased neck muscle tone and stiffness).The classic triad of diagnostic signs consists of nuchal rigidity, sudden high fever, and altered mental status.Other signs commonly associated with meningitis include photophobia and phonophobia.Meningitis caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis (known as "meningococcal meningitis") can be differentiated from meningitis with other causes by a rapidly spreading petechial rash which may precede other symptoms.The rash is typically non-blanching.
A lumbar puncture may be used to diagnose or exclude meningitis.The CSF is then examined in a medical laboratory.The usual treatment for meningitis is the prompt application of antibiotics and sometimes antiviral drugs. In some situations, corticosteroid drugs can also be used to prevent complications from overactive inflammation.Meningitis can lead to serious long-term consequences such as deafness, epilepsy, hydrocephalus and cognitive deficits, especially if not treated quickly.Severe meningococcal and pneumococcal infections may result in hemorrhaging of the adrenal glands, leading to Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome, which is often lethal.



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