Meningitis is an inflammation of the soft membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. The disease is caused by bacteria or viruses. The effectiveness of the treatment of meningitis directly depends on the timely and correct diagnosis.
The first signs of meningitis resemble flu symptoms: a sharp rise in temperature up to 39 ° C, weakness, loss of appetite, painful sensations throughout the body: it seems that all muscles and joints are hurting at once. Other general symptoms of the disease appear within a few hours or days. These include severe headache, dizziness, photophobia, back pain, neck pain, drowsiness, seizures, squint, body rash, and vomiting. A patient with meningitis, as a rule, lies on his side with his head thrown back, his knees pulled up to his stomach.
Headache with meningitis is very intense, bursting, aggravated by movement, light irritations and sharp sounds, it is felt throughout the head. With meningitis, analgesics have no effect, they do not relieve pain. Vomiting occurs at the peak of the headache, it is not associated with food intake and does not provide relief. Increased tactile, visual and sound sensitivity develops due to irritation of the receptors of the meninges, cells of the brain nodes, this significantly reduces the threshold of sensitivity. In severe cases of the disease, confusion is observed.
There are several forms of meningitis, accompanied by their characteristic symptoms. With the meningococcal form, severe chills and fever are observed, a small rash on the body that has a dark cherry color. It usually disappears after three to four days. Pneumococcal meningitis is characterized by rapid development, it is accompanied by otitis media, sinusitis, pneumonia. This form of the disease is characterized by convulsions and disturbances of consciousness. Symptoms of viral meningitis are similar to those of influenza and can complicate the diagnosis of the disease. Tuberculous meningitis begins with a fever, pain and vomiting do not appear until the next day. Other characteristic symptoms appear after a few days: instability of blood pressure, arrhythmia, the appearance of foci of hemorrhage, necrosis on the face, neck, mucous membranes, paralysis of the muscles of the face, eyeballs. A particularly dangerous condition is paralysis of the larynx and pharynx, after which the respiratory center is paralyzed.
Meningitis is caused by a meningococcal infection. The source of infection can be carriers of bacteria, patients with meningococcemia, nasopharyngitis. Meningococcus enters the body by airborne droplets, it penetrates very quickly into the blood and tissues, causing inflammation. The causative agents of the disease can be pneumococcus, tuberculosis or haemophilus influenzae, spirochetes. Secondary meningitis develops as a complication of a viral infectious disease. In some cases, pathogens are transmitted from mother to child during childbirth, through food and water contaminated by rodents, insect bites, by oral-fecal, hematogenous or lymphogenous routes.