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|LorrieOw||Jun 12 2009, 08:48 PM|
As I work for a family practice doctor, I am going to paste some facts about bacterail meningitis here. |
Where is bacterial meningitis found?
Bacterial meningitis is found worldwide. The bacteria often live harmlessly in a person's mouth and throat. In rare instances, however, they can break through the body's immune defenses and travel to the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. There they begin to multiply quickly. Soon, the thin membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord (meninges) becomes swollen and inflamed, leading to the classic symptoms of meningitis.
How do people get bacterial meningitis?
The bacteria are spread by direct close contact with the discharges from the nose or throat of an infected person. Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are very contagious, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.
What are the signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis?
In persons over age 2, common symptoms are high fever, headache, and stiff neck. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, confusion, and sleepiness. In advanced disease, bruises develop under the skin and spread quickly.
In newborns and infants, the typical symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be hard to detect. Other signs in babies might be inactivity, irritability, vomiting, and poor feeding.
As the disease progresses, patients of any age can have seizures.
How can bacterial meningitis be prevented?
Vaccines -- There are vaccines against Hib, some strains of Neisseria meningitidis, and many types of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
The vaccines against Hib are very safe and highly effective. By age 6 months of age, every infant should receive at least three doses of an Hib vaccine. A fourth dose (booster) should be given to children between 12 and 18 months of age.
The vaccine against Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcal vaccine) is not routinely used in civilians in the United States and is relatively ineffective in children under age 2 years. The vaccine is sometimes used to control outbreaks of some types of meningococcal meningitis in the United States. New meningococcal vaccines are under development.
The vaccine against Streptococcal pneumoniae (pneumococcal vaccine) is not effective in persons under age 2 years but is recommended for all persons over age 65 and younger persons with certain medical problems. New pneumococcal vaccines are under development.
Disease reporting -- Cases of bacterial meningitis should be reported to state or local health authorities so that they can follow and treat close contacts of patients and recognize outbreaks.
Antibiotics for contacts of a person with Hib disease are no longer recommended if all contacts 4 years of age or younger are fully vaccinated.
As Will and the twins are at the age that they have received their Hib vaccines, they were not at risk. The DOOL writers were pretty "right one" on this story all the way.
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