Meningitis

What is meningitis?

According to MayoClinic.com, "Meningitis is an infection and inflammation of the membranes (meninges) and fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) surrounding your brain and spinal cord.  Meningitis is most often caused by bacteria or viruses.  Bacterial meningitis is usually much more serious than viral meningitis."

Many people carry Neisseria meningitidis, the meningitis bacteria, in their throats, but almost all of them build up a natural immunity before it can affect the bloodstream.  The disease strikes only one in every 100,000 people or about 2,800 Americans each year.  If caught early enough, the disease can be treated with antibiotics.  Meningitis is spread through direct contact with oral secretions, including respiratory droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person.  Many people carry the germ in their nose and throat without signs of illness, while others may develop serious symptoms.

Signs & symptoms

  • A high fever that prevents you from eating or drinking
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Progressive lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Stiff neck
  • An accompanying skin rash, especially near your armpits or on your hands or feet
  • Rapid progression of small hemorrhages under your skin
  • Sensitivity to light
    (Source: MayoClinic.com)

If you suspect that you or someone you know has meningitis, it should be treated as a medical emergency. Seek medical help immediately.

Vaccination

Menactra is a new conjugate type vaccine (MCV4). 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that college freshmen living in residence halls be protected by vaccination with MCV4 (Menactra) as the preferred vaccine.  If  Menactra is unavailable, then CDC reports that MPSV4 (Menomune) is an acceptable alternative. 

CDC reports that MCV4 (Menactra) has some advantage over MPSV4  (Menomune), including longer duration of protection expected in adolescents and adults. Also, previous scientific experience with conjugated types of vaccine raises the possibility that Menactra might reduce the amount of meningococcal bacteria carried by healthy people and might also produce a stronger immune response at re-exposure. 

You can read more about this at the following web sites:

Copies of these CDC articles are available for you to read, in the treatment clinic of Taylor Health and Wellness Center. 

We can vaccinate you now with the Menactra vaccine. Let us know if we may help you in any other way.

For more information about meningitis and the available immunizations, click on the following links: