General Practice 2022

Meningitis meningocócica: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Meningitis meningocócica: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Meningitis meningocócica: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
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Meningococcal meningitis is a rare type of bacterial meningitis, caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, which causes severe inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain, generating symptoms such as very high fever, severe headache and nausea, for example..

Meningococcal meningitis usually appears in spring and winter, especially affecting children and the elderly, although it can also occur in adults, especially when there are other diseases that cause a decrease in the immune system.

Meningococcal meningitis is curable, but treatment should be started as soon as possible to avoid serious neurological sequelae that can be life-threatening.Thus, whenever meningitis is suspected, one should go to the emergency room to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment.

See which tests can be used to confirm meningitis.

Main symptoms

The most common symptoms of meningococcal meningitis include:

  • High fever above 38ยบ;
  • Severe headache;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Stiffness in the back of the neck, with difficulty in bending the neck;
  • Drowsy and excessive tiredness;
  • Joint pain;
  • Intolerance to light and noise;
  • Purple spots on the skin.

Already in the baby, meningococcal meningitis can also cause other symptoms such as tense soft spot, agitation, intense crying, rigidity of the body and convulsions. Since it is more difficult for the baby to understand which problem is causing intense crying, it is always best to consult a pediatrician, especially if there is any change accompanied by fever or changes in the soft spot.

How to confirm the diagnosis

Since meningococcal meningitis is considered an emergency situation, you should go to the emergency room as soon as you suspect a possible infection in the meninges. In these cases, the doctor may suspect the disease through the symptoms, but it is necessary to perform a lumbar puncture to identify if there is any bacteria in the spinal cord and confirm the diagnosis.

What causes meningococcal meningitis

Meningococcal meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain, caused by the presence of the bacterium Neisseria Meningitidis. This bacteria usually first infects other parts of the body, such as the skin, intestines, or lungs, and then makes its way to the brain, where it develops and causes severe inflammation of the meninges.

In rarer cases, this bacteria can enter the brain directly, especially if there has been a serious trauma to the head, such as in a traffic accident or during brain surgery, for example.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for meningococcal meningitis should be done as soon as possible while in hospital with an injection of antibiotics into the vein, such as Ceftriaxone, for about 7 days.

During treatment, family members must wear protective masks whenever they visit the patient, since meningococcal meningitis is transmitted through respiratory secretions, however, isolation is not necessary.

How to protect yourself

The prevention of meningococcal meningitis can be done with the use of meningitis vaccines included in the child's vaccination schedule, as well as other precautions such as:

  • Avoid places with lots of people, especially;
  • Keep the rooms in the house well ventilated;
  • Avoid closed places;
  • Have good body hygiene.

In addition, people who have been in close contact with another infected person should consult a general practitioner to assess the possibility that they may also have been affected by the bacteria, initiating antibiotic use if necessary.

Possible sequels

Since meningitis affects the brain membranes, there is a very high risk of complications such as:

  • Loss of vision or hearing;
  • Severe brain problems;
  • Difficulty in learning;
  • Paralysis of muscles;
  • Heart problems.

The sequelae of meningococcal meningitis usually arise when treatment is not done properly or when it is started too late. Understand better the possible consequences of meningitis.

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