Meningitis : Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

Meningitis : Symptoms, Types, Causes & Diagnosis

The fluid and three membranes (meninges) that surround your brain and spinal cord become inflamed when you have meningitis. Viral and bacterial infections are the main causes of meningitis. Other potential reasons include...


The fluid and three membranes (meninges) that surround your brain and spinal cord become inflamed when you have meningitis. Viral and bacterial infections are the main causes of meningitis. Other potential reasons include cancer fungus, drug-induced responses, and others. Meningitis caused by some bacteria and viruses can spread.

Signs and Symptoms Indicative of Meningitis

Identical symptoms are present caused both by bacteria and viruses. However, The signs of bacterial meningitis are more serious. Moreover, the symptoms depend on the age of the patient.

Meningitis virus symptoms

Infants with viral meningitis may develop:

  • Reduction in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • A rash,
  • And respiratory issues

Viral meningitis in adults may result in:

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Epilepsy
  • Intolerance to intense light
  • Sleepiness
  • Lethargy
  • Nauseous and dizzy

Signs of bacterial meningitis Symptoms of bacterial meningitis appear suddenly. They may consist of:

  • Changed state of mind
  • Sensitivity to light, vomiting, and irritation
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Stiff neck
  • Purple skin patches that look like bruising
  • Sleepiness
  • Lethargy

Get medical help as soon as possible, if you present with these symptoms. Meningitis which is caused by CSF (Protein & Sugar) viruses and bacteria can be life endangering. Bacterial and viral meningitis can not be diagnosed only on the basis of how you feel. To rule out which type you have, your doctor needs to do certain tests on you.

Symptoms of fungal meningitis The signs of bacterial meningitis and fungus meningitis are similar. These may consist of:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Neck stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • An overall feeling of illness
  • Bewilderment
  • Disorientation

Persistent meningitis signs- Although chronic meningitis usually progresses slowly, its symptoms are almost similar to those of other meningitis.

Rash from Meningitis

A mild skin rash is one of the later indications that Neisseria meningitidis, one of the bacteria that can cause meningitis, is present in your circulation. Meningococcal meningitis germs proliferate in your blood and seek cells near the capillaries, which cause slight capillary injuries and blood leaks causing A slight pink rashas a result. These dots sreeasily be mistaken for bruises and may look like small pinpricks. The rash may become more noticeable as the infection becomes worse and spreads. The blotches will intensify and enlarge. It could be more difficult for people with darker skin to see a meningitis rash. The inside of the mouth and other lighter-colored parts of the body may show rash symptoms. Every rash appears differently. View images of meningitis rashes to comprehend how this condition could manifest.

Meningitis Types

The most serious causes of meningitis are bacterial and viral diseases. There are other additional types of meningitis. Examples are the ones that are cancer related, and cryptococcal, one which is brought by a fungus. These kinds are less typical.

  • Meningitis virus The most serious kind of meningitis is viral meningitis. 52% of cases of meningitis in adults and 58% in newborns are due to viruses of the enterovirus category. These are more prevalent in the summer and in the fall, and they consist of: coxsackie virus B echoviruses and A coxsackie viruses Infections caused by enteroviruses account for 10 to 15 million cases per year. annually, but only a small proportion of those who contract the infection go on to develop meningitis. Meningitis can be caused by other viruses. These consist of: Mumps, West Nile virus, and influenza Measles, HIV, and herpes viruses Colorado tick fever is caused by the coltivirus. Usually, viral meningitis clears up on its own. Some causes, nevertheless, do require treatment.
  • Meningitis due to bacteria Meningitis caused by specific bacteria is infectious and contagious. If untreated, it might be lethal. One in ten individuals who contract bacterial meningitis dies or experiences severe consequences. Even with appropriate care, this is still possible. The most typical bacterial species are : Pneumococcal meningitis is a disease  that is caused by the bacteria streptococcus pneumoniae, which is commonly found in the sinuses, nasal cavity, and respiratory Bacterial meningitis
  • A rare kind of meningitis is fungus meningitis. Through your bloodstream, It spreads to your brain or spinal cord. A weak immune system increases the chances of fungal meningitis. This includes those who have HIV or cancer. The fungi that cause fungal meningitis most frequently are: Inhaling dirt or soil that has been polluted by bird droppings, particularly those of pigeons and chickens, or by rotting vegetation can lead to Cryptococcus. Another species of fungus called Blastomyces is prevalent in soil, notably in the Midwest of the United States. Histoplasma is a disease that is prevalent in areas that have been highly polluted by the bat and bird droppings, particularly in the Midwestern States close to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
  • Parasitic meningitis -This type is less prevalent than viral or bacterial meningitis, is caused by parasites that can be found in dirt and animals, like raw fish, chicken, and fruit, and in some snails.

There are different types of parasite meningitis. It is called Eosinophilic meningitis (EM). The three main causative agent that cause EM are as follows. These consist of:

  • Cantonensis Angiostrongylus
  • Procyonis Baylisascaris
  • Spiniger's gnathostome

No one can be affected by parasitic meningitis from another person, since it is non communicable. Other than that, it is transferred from food and animals affected by the parasite.

  • Amebic meningitis is a very uncommon form and a lethal infection. This type is brought on by swimming in contaminated ponds, rivers, or lakes, which allows one of the numerous amoeba species to enter the body through the nose. In later times, hallucinations, seizures, and other severe symptoms developed due to the destruction of brain tissue. Naegleria fowleri is the species that is most frequently seen.
  • Meningitis without infection Meningitis is not an illness, as it is not contagious; rather, it is a form of meningitis caused by other diseases or medical procedures. These consist of lupus, a head injury, brain surgery, cancer, certain drugs, and persistent meningitis. Cases that present for more than four weeks are categorized under this category.

What Contributes to Meningitis?

  • Every type of meningitis has a distinct etiology, they all progressively have the same results.
  • Until it reaches the brain or spinal cord, through the bloodstream, nerve endings, or even a dormant reactivation in the nervous system, a bacteria, fungus, virus, or parasite spreads throughout the body
  • There, it establishes itself in the tissues or bodily fluids surrounding these important organs and begins to grow into a more complicated infection. Non-infectious meningitis is caused by any other illness.

Is there a meningitis vaccination available?

There is a vaccine available for several bacterial meningitis strains, yes. One form of meningitis for which vaccines are available is meningococcal meningitis, which is brought on by Neisseria meningitides. Although bacterial meningitis is less frequent, it can be more severe if it is not identified and treated right away. Due to this, the two main meningitis vaccinations are for bacterial causes: The MenACWY vaccine, also known by the brand names Menactra, Menveo, and McQuade, is a meningococcal conjugate vaccine that targets four of the most prevalent bacterial serotypes. In particular, if you continue booster shots, it lasts longer and provides higher protection. The MenB meningococcal vaccination, which targets a single strain, has a substantially smaller window of protection. It is suggested that only a particular population receive this vaccine.

Meningitis Vaccination Side Effects can Include:

  • Aching
  • Erythema,
  • And burning where the injection was given. After the injection, a brief period of low-grade fever followed by
  • Chill
  • Tiredness
  • Joint discomfort,
  • And headache

In 3 to 7 days, these adverse effects ought to disappear.

In What Ways is Meningitis Treated?

The etiology of your meningitis will affect your course of therapy.

  • Meningitis caused by bacteria needs immediate hospitalization. Brain injury and death can be prevented by initial diagnosis and care. Antibiotics and steroids given intravenously are used to treat bacterial meningitis. A specific antibiotic is not present for bacterial meningitis. Depending on the bacteria at play.
  • Antifungal medications are used to treat fungus meningitis. Either treating the illness directly or only the symptoms of parasitic meningitis may be attempted. Depending on the underlying cause, this type may improve without using antibiotics.
  • Viral meningitis may go away on its own, but some of its causes may require intravenous antiviral treatment to be treated.
  • To treat chronic meningitis, the underlying cause must first be addressed, such as a fungal infection or an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis.

Is Meningitis a Contagious Disease?

Many forms of meningitis are not spreadable. Meningitis caused by fungi, parasites, and non-infectious diseases cannot spread. Contagious viral meningitis exists. bodily fluids like saliva, feces, and mucus can transmit it with direct contact

Sneezing and coughing can share and distribute infectious fluid droplets. The most dangerous type of meningitis, bacterial meningitis, can spread to other people, especially if it is meningococcal meningitis. Long-term contact with an infected person allows it to spread. The most common places to spread this sickness include schools, daycare facilities, military barracks, hospitals, and college residence halls. Meningitis can transfer from person to person in some cases, but not in all. Find out which illnesses are contagious and how to prevent them. Infants with meningitis

Compared to adults, babies who get meningitis may exhibit various signs and symptoms of an infection. When nursing, a baby may be tired and have trouble waking, cranky and irritated, and have a weak sucking reflex. In babies, viral meningitis can occur often. Untreated colds, cold sores, the flu, and diarrhea can all lead to its development.

The most likely source of bacterial meningitis, which is common but very lethal, is a transfer of infection from a nearby body organ. For example, a serious sinus infection or ear infection may enter the blood, move to the brain, and then increase in number to cause a more dreadful infection.

Meningitis is Identified in What Way?

Beginning with a health history and physical examination, meningitis is diagnosed. Age, dorm occupancy, and attendance at daycare facilities might all be significant indicators. Your doctor will examine you physically to check for: fever skin problems elevated heart rate

A lumbar puncture will also be prescribed by your doctor. The spinal tap is another name for this test. It gives your doctor the chance to examine the cerebral spinal fluid, which has a wealth of information about infections. Glucose, and white blood cell count, are a few indicative in the cerebral spinal fluid.

The optimal antibiotic for treatment can also be determined by this test. To make a diagnosis of meningitis, other tests could be required. Typical testing comprises the following: Blood cultures revealed the presence of germs. The blood can carry bacteria to the brain. Meningitis and sepsis can both be brought on by N. meningitidis and S. pneumonia, among other pathogens. A general health indicator is a complete blood count with differential. White blood cells provide defense against disease and Meningitis typically results in an increased number. The presence of pneumonia, TB, or fungal diseases can be shown on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia can lead to meningitis. A head CT scan may reveal issues including intracranial hypertension or a brain abscess. the sinuses can spread to the meninges, bacteria can spread

How Can Meningitis be Stopped?

It's crucial to keep up a healthy lifestyle, especially if you're at higher risk. This comprises:

  • Taking the necessary amount of sleep
  • Not a smoker avoiding sick people's company
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Additionally, vaccinations can offer defense against specific meningitis forms. Meningitis can be prevented with the following vaccines: vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)vaccination for pneumococcal conjugate vaccination against meningococci.
  • Keeping yourself clean can also assist you to avoid getting meningitis. Some varieties of meningitis can be transmitted by coming into intimate contact with bodily fluids from an infected individual, such as saliva or nasal secretions.
  • Don't share beverages, utensils, or other items that can be contaminated with saliva or other bodily fluids.

What are the meningitis complications?

Meningitis frequently causes these complications:

  • Seizures
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of eyesight and memory issues
  • Migraine attacks
  • Brain injury
  • A subdural empyema, also known as hydrocephalus, is a collection of fluid between the brain and the skull.

Bacteria in the circulation may result from a meningitis infection. These bacteria grow and produce toxins. A severe variation of this blood infection can be fatal. Skin and tissue may be harmed by gangrene. Rarely, amputation may be required. Untreated meningitis patients may develop several other dangerous side effects.