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Bacterial Meningitis

more about Bacterial Meningitis

  • Headache
  • Extreme irritability
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Neck pain
  • Photophobia (pain resulting from looking at bright lights)

  • Bacterial Meningitis can be caused by several different species of bacteria.
  • The most common species are specific to the age of the child:
    1. The first two months of life -- Group B Streptococcus, gram-negative enteric bacilli, and Listeria monocytogenes
    2. Children two months-12 years of age -- S. pneumoniae, N. meningitidis, or H. influenzae type b

  • Newborn infants under one month old; individuals with intracranial surgically implanted devices; and those with spina bifida and similar diseases are at greater risk for meningitis.
  • People with certain immune system diseases, including AIDS, are also at increased risk for meningitis.

  • Diagnosis is usually made by taking samples of spinal fluid obtained by a lumbar puncture, or "spinal tap."
  • All pediatricians, and most physicians, in the United States are trained in, and comfortable with, this procedure.  When done by an experienced doctor, it is safe and has a minimal risk of complications.

  • Therapy for meningitis requires intravenous antibiotics for a period of ten days to four weeks.
  • Because of the severity of the condition, this treatment is usually given in a hospital.
  • Depending upon the cause of the infection, oral antibiotic treatment for family members and household contacts may also be needed to prevent them from developing the infection.

  • Untreated, meningitis can result in permanent disability and death.
  • If treated appropriately, most children with meningitis will do very well.  However, there are significant risks for long-term problems, including deafness and developmental delay.  These risks vary with the age of an individual patient, and the organism responsible for the infection.
  • Because of these risks, children with a history of meningitis should be followed closely by their doctors so that problems can be identified early and appropriate interventions can be started

  • See your pediatrician immediately

more about Bacterial Meningitis

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