Meningitis is a rare infection that affects the delicate membranes -- called meninges -- that cover the brain and spinal cord. You or your children can catch it.
There are several types of this disease, including bacterial, viral, and fungal.
Bacterial meningitis can be life-threatening and spreads between people in close contact with each other.
Viral meningitis tends to be less severe, and most people recover completely without treatment.
Fungal meningitis is a rare form of the disease. It usually only happens in people who have a weakened immune system -- the body's defense against germs.
It's an extremely serious illness. You or your child will need to get medical help right away. It can be life-threatening or lead to brain damage without quick treatment.
Bacterial meningitis is caused by several different bacteria. The most common ones that bring on the disease in the U.S. are:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus)
- Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus)
- Listeria monocytogenes (in older people, pregnant women, or those with immune system problems)
A bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was a common cause of meningitis in babies and young children until the Hib vaccine became available for infants. There are also vaccines for Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae. They're recommended for all children as well as adults who are at a higher risk for the disease.
In many cases, bacterial meningitis starts when bacteria get into the bloodstream from the sinuses, ears, or throat. The bacteria then travel through the bloodstream to the brain.
The bacteria that cause meningitis can spread when people who are infected cough or sneeze. If you or your child has been around someone who has bacterial meningitis, ask your doctor what steps you should take to avoid catching it.
Meningitis is a disease that attacks the meninges. It travels around the body in order to reach these protective layers. It then lives in the cerebrospinal fluid. It attacks the body’s phages, therefore, placing stress on the brain. Not only does the bacteria attack the body, the stress causes a variety of conditions, most of which are related to hearing deficiencies. Meningitis attacks many different parts of the world both in the distant past and in recent years. The most common place for the four epidemic-causing serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis to attack is in the Meningitis Belt in sub-Saharan Africa.
Meningitis is a well-known disease among people; however, there are many confusing aspects about it. Many people do not truly understand what meningitis is, what is does, or how it causes so many devastating symptoms. To most people, meningitis is that disease that occurs every once in a while in little kids or old folk. However, what many do not know is that meningitis causes epidemics. There is at least one epidemic every few years somewhere in the world. Meningitis is a very dangerous disease that has been followed by and researched for years to understand these aspects. It is about time the public learned about meningitis, and essays like these are how they get informed.
The bacteria and viruses that cause meningitis have a pretty specific method by which they attack the human body. They have to find a way into the meninges, or the protective layers between the brain and the skull. They include the pia mater, the arachnoid, and the dura mater. The bacteria and/or viruses enter the bloodstream around the body (“Neuropathology” 6). Through complex interactions with the endothelial cells, they travel to the sub-arachnoid space, a gap in the meninges between the pia mater and arachnoid (“Neuropathology” 6). From there,
they enter the CSF, or cerebrospinal fluid (“Neuropathology” 6). This is a perfect environment for them to multiply because it receives a plethora of nutrients, and there are minimal amounts of phagocytes and antibodies (“Neuropathology” 6).
Initially, the bacteria and viruses can easily multiply (“Neuropathology” 6). However, the body, realizing that there are foreign objects in the meninges, sends phagocytes. They arrive through the tight junctions, a series of junctions surrounding the brain, which only loosen to allow back-up protection. However, when these tight junctions loosen, they make the situation worse in two main ways. First, they allow in more meningitis-causing bacteria and viruses. Secondly, the natural chemicals and phagocytes come in such large numbers that they place stress on the brain. This can cause a multitude of symptoms. Eventually, however, the phagocytes that your body sent kills the bacteria and viruses, causing lipids and oligosaccharides, including endotoxins, to be released (“Neuropathology” 7). These components harm the body as well (“Neuropathology” 7).
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