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الجمعة، 3 فبراير، 2012

CDC Fact Sheet: Meningitis

CDC Fact Sheet: Meningitis
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that
surrounds the brain. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is
usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by
a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ.
Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment, while
bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or
learning disability.
For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the
meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other
people. Before the 1990s,
bacterial meningitis, but new vaccines being given to all children as part of their routine
immunizations have reduced the occurrence of invasive disease due to
Today,
bacterial meningitis.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause ofH. influenzae.Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of
What are the signs and symptoms of meningitis?
High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over
the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1
to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright
lights, confusion, and sleepiness.
In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck
stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect, and the infant may only appear slow or
inactive, or be irritable, have vomiting, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses,
patients of any age may have seizures.
How is meningitis diagnosed?
Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. If symptoms occur, the patient should
see a doctor immediately. The diagnosis is usually made by growing bacteria from a
sample of spinal fluid. The spinal fluid is obtained by performing a spinal tap, in which a
needle is inserted into an area in the lower back where fluid in the spinal canal is readily
accessible.
Identification of the type of bacteria responsible is important for selection of correct
antibiotics.
Can meningitis be treated?
Bacterial meningitis can be treated with a number of effective antibiotics. It is important,
however, that treatment be started early in the course of the disease. Appropriate
CDC Fact Sheet: Meningitis
Page 2
antibiotic treatment of most common types of bacterial meningitis should reduce the risk
of dying from meningitis to below 15%, although the risk is higher among the elderly.
Is meningitis contagious?
Yes, some forms are bacterial meningitis are contagious. The bacteria are spread through
the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (i.e., coughing, kissing).
Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as things like the
common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing
the air where a person with meningitis has been.
However, sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis have spread to other people who
have had close or prolonged contact with a patient with meningitis caused by
meningitidis
People in the same household or day-care center, or anyone with direct contact with a
patient's oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend) would be considered at
increased risk of acquiring the infection. People who qualify as close contacts of a
person with meningitis caused by
them from getting the disease. Antibiotics for contacts of a person with Hib meningitis
disease are no longer recommended if all contacts 4 years of age or younger are fully
vaccinated against Hib disease (see below).
Neisseria(also called meningococcal meningitis) or Hib.N. meningitidis should receive antibiotics to prevent
Are there vaccines against meningitis?
Yes, there are vaccines against Hib and against some strains of
types of
effective.
There is also a vaccine that protects against four strains of
routinely used in the United States and is not effective in children under 18 months of
age. The vaccine against
types of meningococcal meningitis in the United States.
Meningitis cases should be reported to state or local health departments to assure followup
of close contacts and recognize outbreaks. Although large epidemics of
meningococcal meningitis do not occur in the United States, some countries experience
large, periodic epidemics.
Overseas travelers should check to see if meningococcal vaccine is recommended for
their destination. Travelers should receive the vaccine at least 1 week before departure, if
possible. Information on areas for which meningococcal vaccine is recommended can be
obtained by calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (404)-332-4565.
A vaccine to prevent meningitis due to
meningitis) can also prevent other forms of infection due to
pneumococcal vaccine is not effective in children under 2 years of age but is
N. meningitidis and manyStreptococcus pneumoniae. The vaccines against Hib are very safe and highlyN. meningitidis, but it is notN. meningitidis is sometimes used to control outbreaks of someS. pneumoniae (also called pneumococcalS. pneumoniae. The
CDC Fact Sheet: Meningitis
Page 3
recommended for all persons over 65 years of age and younger persons with certain
chronic medical problems.
Update from October 20, 1999 Press Release:
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has modified its guidelines
for use of the polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine to prevent bacterial meningitis,
particularly for college freshmen who live in dormitories, a group found to be at a
modestly increased risk of meningococcal disease relative to other persons their age.
ACIP Modifies Recommendations for Meningitis Vaccination
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has modified its guidelines
for use of the polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine to prevent bacterial meningitis,
particularly for college freshmen who live in dormitories, a group found to be at a
modestly increased risk of meningococcal disease relative to other persons their age.
At its October 20 meeting, the ACIP, citing results of two CDC studies done in 1998
which identified the slightly higher risk among freshman dormitory residents,
recommended that those who provide medical care to this group give information to
students and their parents about meningococcal disease and the benefits of vaccination.
Vaccination should be provided or made easily available to those freshmen who wish to
reduce their risk of disease. Other undergraduate students wishing to reduce their risk of
meningococcal disease can also choose to be vaccinated.
The currently available vaccine protects against some types (serogroups) of the bacterium
Neisseria meningitidis
meningitis and sepsis in children and young adults in the United States. A single dose of
the vaccine is recommended, and vaccination will decrease the risk of disease caused by
(also called meningococcus), an important cause of bacterial
N. meningitidis
eliminate risk of the disease because the vaccine does not protect against serogroup B and
because, although it is highly effective against serogroups C and Y, it still does not confer
100% protection against these serogroups. In 1998-1999, serogroups C and Y caused
about 70% of cases among college students.
Approximately 3,000 cases of meningococcal disease occur each year in the United
States, and 10%-13% of patients die despite receiving antibiotics early in the illness. Of
those who survive, an additional 10% have severe aftereffects of the disease, including
mental retardation, hearing loss and loss of limbs.
On September 30, 1997, the American College Health Association (ACHA), which
represents about one-half of colleges with student health services in the United States,
released a statement recommending that "college health services [take] a more proactive
role in alerting students and their parents about the dangers of meningococcal disease"
and that "college students consider vaccination against potentially fatal meningococcal
disease.” In early 1998, CDC, in collaboration with the Council of State and Territorial
Epidemiologists (CSTE) and ACHA’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Task Force, initiated
two studies to better define the risk of meningococcal disease associated with college
campuses. Both studies indicated that freshmen college students, particularly those who
serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135. However, vaccination will not totally
CDC Fact Sheet: Meningitis
Page 4
live in dormitories, constitute a group at a modestly increased risk for meningococcal
disease.
More information on meningococcal disease, its symptoms, and the vaccine is available
on the CDC website,
College Health Association.
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo and the Americanhttp://www.acha.org/special-prj/men/faq.htm

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