Meningitis in children: prevention and vaccination
Meningitis is a serious infection of the meninges, which are the membranes that cover and protect the brain and spinal cord. It can affect children and adults, but it’s most common in infants and young children.
Meningitis is caused by a variety of bacteria or viruses that cause inflammation in the brain or spinal cord. The most common causes are:
-Bacterial meningitis: Bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa
-Viral meningitis: The common cold virus (bacterial cold) and herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) are two types of viruses that can cause viral meningitis
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There are vaccines available to prevent these infections. Vaccines can also be used to treat bacterial meningitis. The vaccine for Hib protects against infection caused by Hib bacteria. Some vaccines protect against more than one type of bacteria; others protect against only one type of bacteria.
The most common form of meningitis is caused by group B meningococcal bacteria. In this form of meningitis, there are usually two types of symptoms: headache and fever. Other symptoms include a stiff neck, rash on the trunk or limbs, nausea or vomiting, and difficulty breathing or swallowing.
A child with meningitis may also have confusion, irritability, lethargy (low energy level), seizures or loss of consciousness. If left untreated, this condition can cause permanent damage to brain tissue and lead to death. Treatment includes antibiotics to stop the spread of infection; treatment for any other underlying conditions such as cancer; and supportive care such as oxygen therapy for those who cannot breathe well enough on their own without it (such as infants).
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- Diagnosis and Treatment of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis in Pediatric Patients
- common bacteria/ viruses and how to reduce risk of infection
- Why are some pathogenic bacteria resistant to antibiotics?
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