Meningitis

Meningitis is a clinical disease brought about by the inflammation of the mininges or membrane that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. The inflammation is caused by infection, chemical or trauma. The treatment options available for meningitis are highly dependent on the causative agent. The most common cause of inflammation of the meninges is infection which is caused by bacterial, viral or fungal in origin.

Bacterial Meningitis

An Acute Bacterial Meningitis is a medical emergency which merits immediate intervention with intravenous antibiotics to control the bacterial infection in the meninges. Physicians may opt to combine antibiotics to empirically cover all types of bacteria before a definitive diagnosis is made. Cortisone medications are also used to control the swelling of the brain to prevent seizures in the individual. Bacterial meningitis may affect the middle ear and the cavernous areas which are in close proximity to the brain matter.

Viral Meningitis

Viral meningitis is usually self limiting and antibiotics are useless in this case. If the causative agent is Herpes, however, an antiviral medication is available for it. Treatment in general is geared towards bed rest, adequate fluids, and oral analgesics to relieve pain.

Other Causes of Meningitis

In Viral Meningitis, anti-fungals are to be used intravenously and symptomatic control. Allergic or autoimmune meningitis may be treated with cortisone medications. Meningitis due to trauma may resolve spontaneously, but immediate osmotic agents may be used to relieve pressure symptoms. Anti-cancer agents may treat brain cancers that cause meningitis.

Outcome

Majority of the individuals who have meningitis proceed into full recovery, especially the younger individuals. Although 19% of bacterial meningitis may prove to be fatal, especially those caused by Haemophilus influenza B and Streptococcus pneumonia. Infants who recover from meningitis may have serious sequelae like cerebral palsy, epilepsy, learning disorders, visual problems and other medical conditions.

 It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.