Bacterial meningitis is the most serious type of meningitis. It can lead to death or permanent disability. It is a medical emergency. Meningitis affects the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord and protect the central nervous system CNS , together with the cerebrospinal fluid. In , the mortality rate for bacterial meningitis was 34 percent , and 50 percent of patients experienced long-term effects after recovery. For this reason, treatment with antibiotics must start as soon as possible.
Symptoms of meningitis
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges. The meninges are the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can occur when fluid surrounding the meninges becomes infected. The most common causes of meningitis are viral and bacterial infections. Other causes may include:. Some viral and bacterial meningitis are contagious. They can be transmitted by coughing , sneezing , or close contact.
Do not wait for a rash
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes meninges surrounding your brain and spinal cord. The swelling from meningitis typically triggers symptoms such as headache, fever and a stiff neck. Most cases of meningitis in the United States are caused by a viral infection, but bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections are other causes. Some cases of meningitis improve without treatment in a few weeks. Others can be life-threatening and require emergency antibiotic treatment. Seek immediate medical care if you suspect that someone has meningitis. Early treatment of bacterial meningitis can prevent serious complications.
Back to Meningitis. Symptoms of meningitis can appear in any order. Some may not appear at all. In the early stages, there may not be a rash or the rash may fade on pressure. If you've finished what you're doing, can you answer some questions about your visit today? Page last reviewed: 8 March Next review due: 8 March You should get medical help immediately if you're concerned about yourself or your child. Trust your instincts and do not wait until a rash develops. Symptoms of meningitis, septicaemia and meningococcal disease include: a high temperature cold hands and feet vomiting confusion breathing quickly muscle and joint pain pale, mottled or blotchy skin spots or a rash headache a stiff neck a dislike of bright lights being very sleepy or difficult to wake fits seizures Babies may also: refuse feeds be irritable have a high-pitched cry have a stiff body or be floppy or unresponsive have a bulging soft spot on the top of their head Someone with meningitis, septicaemia or meningococcal disease can get a lot worse very quickly.