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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Human Disease – Bacterial meningitis

Human Disease

Bacterial meningitis is a condition that leads to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes. The disease can occur due to viral or bacterial infection, with bacteria entering the bloodstream or directly invading the meninges (Ouchenir et al., 2017). Healthcare workers vaccinate children and adults against the disease.

Children between 1 month and 2 years of age are most vulnerable to the infection, and adults who expose themselves to risk factors can also contract the disease (Ouchenir et al., 2017). The risk factors include alcohol abuse, nose infection, pneumonia, head injury, and ear infections. Streptococcus, S. pneumoniae, and monocytogenes are the three common causes of bacterial meningitis among newborns, while S. pneumoniae and N. meningitidis are the most common causes among babies and children, and N. meningitidis and S. pneumoniae are the common causes in adults (Adil et al., 2021). Patients or parents should seek immediate medical attention to establish the cause and receive treatment.

The common symptoms of bacterial meningitis include sudden high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, nausea and vomiting, confusion, seizure, sleepiness, and sensitivity to light (Ouchenir et al., 2017). Individuals should seek immediate treatment upon experiencing these symptoms since the disease can lead to death. Patients can experience health consequences such as brain damage, learning disabilities, and hearing loss.

If left untreated, 50 percent of patients may die, and among those who survive, 10 percent may experience brain damage and hearing loss. In the United States, 2,600 cases are reported annually (Ouchenir et al., 2017). Meningitis caused by pneumococcal infections occurs in 1.1 in 100,000 people, while 2 cases of hemophilus influenza occur in 100,000 people (Adil et al., 2021). The disease continues to pose a health risk to the public due to a lack of elaborate public education about the disease.

References

Adil, S. M., Hodges, S. E., Charalambous, L. T., Kiyani, M., Liu, B., Lee, H. J., … & Lad, S. P. (2021). Paediatric bacterial meningitis in the USA: outcomes and healthcare resource utilization of nosocomial versus community-acquired infection. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 70(1), 001276.

Ouchenir, L., Renaud, C., Khan, S., Bitnun, A., Boisvert, A. A., McDonald, J., … & Robinson, J. L. (2017). The epidemiology, management, and outcomes of bacterial meningitis in infants. Pediatrics, 140(1).

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