Meaning, Types, Causes & Symptoms Of Meningitis – Top Facts About Meningitis

Many Nigerians are currently struggling to come to terms with the outbreak of Meningitis in the country. For many, this is the first time they have come to term with the word “Meningitis”. As a result of the general ignorance of the Meningitis disease, we have decided to bring to you the meaning, types, causes & symptoms of Meningitis. It is believed this will increase our general knowledge of this disease and help us to know how to prevent it’s further spread.

Having the knowledge of the meaning, types, causes & symptoms of Meningitis is very important at this point in time. They say knowledge is power. The knowledge of the operation of the Meningitis disease will go a long way in its prevention.

Meaning, Types, Causes & Symptoms Of Meningitis

Let us start with the meaning of Meningitis. Others will follow suit.

Meaning of Meningitis

Meningitis is a term derived from the Modern Latin word “meninga” and Greek word “Menix,” both meaning “membrane.” The word is then combined with the suffix “-itis,” which signifies that it’s “an inflammation of.” The CNN defined Meningitis as being “caused by the inflammation of the protective membranes (known as meninges) covering the brain and spinal cord. The inflammation is typically caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding these areas”. Furthermore, it is an infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain.

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Types And Causes Of Meningitis

Many sources have classified different types of Meningitis; however, our study reveals that two major types of Meningitis were generally agreed on by many sources. Therefore, the two major types of Meningitis is

  • Viral Meningitis
  • Fungal Meningitis
  • Bacterial Meningitis

Viral Meningitis

Meaning, Types, Causes & Symptoms Of MeningitisAccording to comoMeningitis.org, viral Meningitis is the most common kind of Meningitis and is usually less severe. Most patients recover without any permanent damage, although full recovery can take many weeks or months. Furthermore, Meningitis-angels.org says it is usually relatively mild. It clears up within a week or two without specific treatment. Viral Meningitis is also called aseptic Meningitis.

Fungal Meningitis

The fungal Meningitis can also be referred to as environmental Meningitis. Fungal Meningitis can be severe but occurs infrequently. Fungal Meningitis is not contagious and spreads by inhaling fungal spores from the environment. Most cases occur in people with impaired immune systems, including people with AIDS.

Bacterial Meningitis

Meaning, Types, Causes & Symptoms Of MeningitisThis is the most common, dangerous and aggressive type of Meningitis. It is aggressive, develops quickly within a few hours and can lead to permanent disability or death in a matter of hours. It is fatal in up to 10 to 20% of cases and accounts for around 170,000 deaths around the world each year. The great majority of these deaths occur within 24-48 hours after the onset of symptoms (comoMeningitis.org).

Most cases of bacterial Meningitis are caused by Neisseria meningitidis (the meningococcus) , Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus)  and Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) . There are different types of all three bacteria called serogroups or serotypes. For example, meningococcus serogroups A, B, C, W and Y are responsible for over 95% of meningococcal Meningitis and septicaemia cases.

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Symptoms Of Meningitis

There are many symptoms of Meningitis. The majority symptoms include but not limited to

Symptoms In Adults & Older Children

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Behavioural changes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Irritability
  • Drowsy or difficult to wake
  • Vomiting
  • Listless, less responsive
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pale or blotchy skin
  • Blank, staring expression
  • Rash or spots that don’t fade with pressure (also called purpura  or petechiae)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures, fits or convulsions
  • Muscle, leg or joint pain
  • Stiff neck

Symptoms in Infants

  • Fever
  • Unusual high-pitched cry
  • Dislike of being handled
  • Difficult to wake
  • Loss of appetite, refusing food or drink
  • Blank staring (or vacant) look
  • Pale or blotchy skin
  • Rash or spots that don’t fade with pressure (also called purpura  or petechiae)*
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Bulging fontanelle
  • Neck retraction

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How is Meningitis Spread?

After dealing with the meaning, types, causes & symptoms of Meningitis, let’s consider how Meningitis is spread.

The bacteria are spread by direct close contact with the discharges from the nose or throat of an infected person. Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause Meningitis are very contagious, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with Meningitis has been.

Furthermore, healthresearchfunding.org reveals that smoking causes many people to become carriers of the virus or bacteria. Although seasonal factors can also contribute to the ability of people to pick up the disease and spread it, smoking is the #1 way that people increase their chances of picking up Meningitis. Furthermore, more cases of Meningitis are found in developing countries that suffer from conditions of poverty, population overcrowding, and limited access to vaccines. Those that have survived symptoms of Meningitis are likely to suffer long term health effects such as deafness, brain damage, learning difficulties, seizures, and limited physical activity and abilities.

We decided to share with you the meaning, types, causes & symptoms of Meningitis so as to ensure its spread is prevented. One major way of preventing Meningitis is to be vaccinated. Therefore, follow the developments in your locality and seek more medical advice to be on the safe side. Your questions and contributions are welcomed. Please share this to save a life. Thank you.

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