What is meningitis, and how is it treated?
Meningitis is a condition in which the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord become inflamed.
Meningitis is caused by either viruses or bacteria that gain entry into the bloodstream from other parts of the body. Meningitis caused by bacteria, although rare, is the most life-threatening. It leads to swelling and inflammation that causes brain damage, loss of hearing, and even death. The disease most commonly affects children below five years of age, and individuals between 16 and 25, and elderly people above 55 years old.
In teenagers and adults, the most common symptoms include, vomiting, high fever, severe headache, drowsiness, stiff neck, and joint pain. In infants, symptoms such as fever, vomiting, refusing to feed, crying with high-pitched voice, retracted neck, a blank expression, and a pale complexion may be seen. Currently, a vaccine is available for one of the strains of bacteria causing meningitis, and continuing research is being performed to develop vaccines against other strains.