All You Should Know About Bacterial Meningitis

All You Should Know About Bacterial Meningitis - elsieisy blog

The death toll suspected from cases of Meningitis in Nigeria has risen to 438 as the disease kills 2 people in Lagos state. The death reported in Lagos state being the most populous city in Nigeria and Africa, with a population of about 17million, calls for serious care and caution.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, and the NCDC, responded to the outbreak by beginning the vaccination exercise in Zamfara, in collaboration with the state government. However, it is important we know the basics of this virus and how to take care of ourselves first before looking to the government.

Bacterial meningitis can be very serious and deadly. Death can occur in as little as few hours.

Types of Meningitis

Bacterial Meningitis – Bacterial meningitis is a potentially life-threatening form of the disease that can cause serious complications such as brain damage, hearing loss, and ultimately death if not diagnosed and treated promptly. This form of meningitis usually occurs when bacteria gets into the bloodstream and travels to the brain and spinal cord.

Viral Meningitis – Viral meningitis is more common than bacterial meningitis, and usually less severe. Most cases of viral meningitis are caused by enteroviruses, but other common viruses such as measles, mumps, and chicken pox, as well as some viruses spread through mosquitos or other insects, can also lead to the disease.

Parasitic Meningitis – A parasite called Naegleria fowleri is the source for primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a very rare type of parasitic meningitis

Fungal Meningitis – Another rare form of meningitis, fungal meningitis, occurs when a fungus enters the bloodstream. Anyone can get this form of the disease, but people with a weakened immune system are at an increased risk.

Non-Infectious Meningitis – Like parasitic and fungal meningitis, non-infectious meningitis cannot be caught from another person. It typically occurs as the result of cancer, lupus, a head injury, brain surgery, or from certain medications. Symptoms are typical of meningitis in general — a sudden onset of fever, stiff neck, and headache, and possibly nausea and vomiting, light sensitivity, and an altered mental state.

Source –

Key Facts on Bacterial Meningitis

  • Bacterial meningitis is a serious infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain.
  • Bacterial meningitis is most commonly caused by one of three types of bacteria: Haemophilus influenzae type b, Neisseria meningitidis, and Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.
  • The bacteria are spread by direct close contact with the discharges from the nose or throat of an infected person.
  • Bacterial meningitis can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Prevention depends on use of vaccines, rapid diagnosis, and prompt treatment of close personal contacts.

History of the organisms causing meningitis

Meningitis outbreak was first recorded in Geneva in 1805. Gaspard Vieusseux (1746-1814) and Andre Matthey (1778-1842) in Geneva, and Elisa North (1771-1843) in Massachusetts, described epidemic (meningococcal) meningitis. Several other epidemics in Europe and the United States were described shortly afterward.

In Africa the first outbreak was described in 1840. African epidemics became much more common in the 20th century. The first major one was reported in Nigeria and Ghana in 1905–1908. In early reports large number of people died of the disease.

The first evidence that linked bacterial infection as a cause of meningitis was written by Austrian bacteriology Anton Vaykselbaum who described meningococcal bacteria in 1887.

Heinrich Quincke (1842-1922) utilized his new technique of lumbar puncture (1891) to provide an early analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). William Mestrezat (1883-1929), and H. Houston Merritt (1902-1979) compiled large series of CSF profiles in meningitis.

Organisms causing meningitis were identified in the late 19th century including:

  • Streptococcus pneumonia
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Haemophilus influenzae

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The most common and recognizable symptoms of meningitis include:

  • sudden high fever and chills
  • headache
  • stiff neck
  • purple areas on the skin that look like bruises

The symptoms usually come on suddenly, within one week of being exposed to the bacteria.

Other less common symptoms of meningitis are:

  • confusion, particularly in older adults
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sensitivity to light
  • rash, usually a symptom appearing during later stages
  • drowsiness and fatigue
  • seizure
  • coma

Children tend to display different symptoms of meningitis than adults. A stiff neck is a symptom in adults not often present in children. Symptoms in children also usually progress gradually.

Some symptoms common to young children include:

  • irritability
  • partial seizures
  • red or purple rashlike areas on the skin
  • projectile vomiting
  • difficulty with feeding
  • high-pitched crying

Transmission of Bacterial Meningitis

Bad news for kiss kiss lovers like me, you can contact the bacteria by kissing, coughing and sneezing. Read details below according to

Most bacteria that cause this form of infection are spread through close personal contact, such as:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • kissing

An infected person’s throat secretions, like phlegm and saliva, contain bacteria. When that person coughs or sneezes the bacteria travel through the air. But most of the germs that can lead to bacterial meningitis aren’t contagious. In fact, the bacteria that cause meningitis are less contagious than viruses that cause the cold or flu.

Not all bacteria that cause meningitis are spread from one person to another. You can also develop bacterial meningitis after eating certain foods containing the Listeria bacterium, such as:

  • soft cheeses
  • hot dogs
  • sandwich meats


Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. If symptoms occur, the patient should see a doctor right away. Bacterial meningitis can be treated with a number of effective antibiotics. It is important, however, that treatment be started early.


I got this BC on whatsapp and I think it may help:

If you suspect that you, or any loved one has had prolonged contact with anybody who is strongly suspected to have MENINGITIS, please go and take the tablet RIFAMPICIN 600mg TWICE daily for two days.

The Tablet Rifampicin is mainly used for treating Tuberculosis, but is globally used for prophylaxis against Meningitis. Being a TB drug, it should be widely available in Nigeria.

While the government seeks to generate funds for the meningococcal vaccine, this measure can be lifesaving for contacts of those infected.

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  1. It’s too bad the kind of things killing innocent Nigerian children. From boko haram to ebola, down to lasa fever and now meningitis.

    At first, after getting to know the rate at which this thing was killing children especially in the north, I doubted if it was the same meningitis I used to know and hear about that can easily be treated.

    Why stay calm as if nothing is happening and let your people die in masses? I saw some images of children greatly affected by the disease at the general hospital in Zamfara and their Governor was busy calling it punishment from Allah and waiting for the intervention of the federal government.

    Thank you for this piece. It was really worth the read. Will write down the name of the aforementioned drug.

    Uche Francis
    Uche Francis recently posted…Airtel smartTRYBE Junior: Cool Tariff Plan for Students and ParentsMy Profile

  2. Great,

    great read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about . Love this post!!
    It’s so interesting to see the statistics of a lifestyle we are trying to make work for us.It sounds as
    if you have worked yourself to where you want to be . Congratulations and continued good fortune!

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