Meningitis: A Life-Threatening Condition


The meninges are tissues that surround the brain and the spinal cord; when these tissues are inflamed, this is Meningitis. It is a life-threatening condition because it affects the master of your whole body: your brain. Unfortunately, meningitis is an infectious disease as it spreads from those infected to others, so it needs prompt medical attention.

There are several types of meningitis, such as viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis. As their names imply, viral meningitis is caused by a virus, while bacterial meningitis is caused by a bacteria. Normally, viral meningitis is less severe than bacterial; however, both require immediate attention, because the complications can be severe. Luckily, there are vaccines to combat meningitis.

Nevertheless, it is important to know the signs of this deadly disease, so that we can protect people who suffer from it from its complications. Some of the signs include: high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, nausea and/or vomiting, confusion, and trouble walking. Some of the signs are vague as they can be signs of other diseases; it is better to be safe than sorry and visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Meningitis develops fast, so urgent medical care is crucial for full recovery.

If meningitis is not treated right away, it can lead to severe complications, as it affects the brain and the spinal cord. Complications include recurrent seizures, partial or total hearing loss, inability to concentrate, problems of imbalance, partial or total vision loss, and also learning problems. Unfortunately, some cases end in death.

Meningitis can affect anyone; however, there are groups that are more susceptible than others to be infected. For example, meningitis affects children and young adults, as well as the elderly because of their deteriorating immune system. It can also affect anyone with diseases that weaken the immune system.

Places also affect your chance of contracting meningitis. The most famous area infested with meningitis is Sub-Saharan Africa, extending from Senegal to Ethiopia; it is even called the “meningitis belt”. Large epidemics of meningitis have also occurred during the Islamic Hajj (Pilgrimage) season; this is why a vaccination has been deemed compulsory to visit the Holy Land in Saudi Arabia.

Happily for all of us, safe vaccinations are available; you can protect yourself and your children from this deadly disease simply by taking the needed vaccination. There is more than one vaccine to meningitis as the disease is caused by multiple infections. Meningitis is a deadly disease, but it can easily be prevented; so, get vaccinated and stay safe.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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