Meningitis (infection of brain spine)

Head | Neurology | Meningitis (infection of brain spine) (Disease)


Spinal meningitis is a condition that causes inflammation and swelling in the lining of the brain and spinal cord. The swelling that results can harm or destroy nerve cells and cause bleeding in the brain. This inflammation and swelling causes the symptoms of meningitis

Causes and Risk factors

The causes of spinal meningitis are usually a bacterial or viral infection (known as bacterial meningitis and viral meningitis, respectively). Most often, the bodys immune system is able to contain and defeat an infection. But if the infection passes into the bloodstream and then into the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, it can affect the nerves and travel to the brain and/or surrounding membranes, causing inflammation.

Diagnosis and Treatment

People who are suspected of having meningitis should receive immediate, aggressive treatment. This disease can progress quickly, and it has the potential to cause severe, irreversible neurological damage.

Early treatment for bacterial meningitis is important for people with the disease. Bacterial meningitis treatment involves strong doses of intravenous antibiotics. Antibiotics may also be given to prevent other bacterial infections.

Corticosteroids such as prednisone may be used to relieve brain pressure and swelling, and to prevent hearing loss that is common in patients with Haemophilus influenzae meningitis. Pain medicine and sedatives may be given to make patients more comfortable.

Depending on the source of infection, infected sinuses may need to be drained as part of treating meningitis.

Appropriate treatment for most types of meningitis can reduce the risk of dying from the disease to below 15 percent. ...