Worldwide, three types of bacteria cause the majority of cases of acute bacterial meningitis:
(the bacteria that causes
Haemophilus influenzae b
In the US, widespread immunization has almost eliminated meningitis due to Hib
Other forms of bacterial meningitis include:
Newborn babies and the elderly are more prone to get sick.
Some forms are spread by direct contact with fluid from the mouth or throat of an infected person. This can happen during a kiss or by sharing eating utensils. In general, meningitis is not spread by casual contact.
If you have any of these risk factors for meningitis, tell your doctor:
Age: infancy and early childhood; over 60 years of age
People in close and prolonged contact with patients with meningitis due to Hib or
—removal of a small amount of
to check for bacteria
Other cultures—testing of samples of blood, urine, mucous, and/or pus from skin infections
—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body (to be sure the inflammation is not from some other cause, such as a tumor)
—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
More than 90% of all people with this infection survive with immediate care including:
Antibiotics and corticosteroids—often given together
Fluids may also be given
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
Antibiotics are given through an IV directly into a vein. This is started as soon as the infection is suspected. The antibiotics may be changed once tests name the exact bacterial cause. Patients usually stay in the hospital until fever has fallen. The fluid around the spine and the brain must also be clear of infection.
These are usually given by IV early in treatment. They control brain pressure and swelling. They also reduce the body’s production of inflammatory substances. This treatment can prevent further damage.
Fluids can be lost due to fever, sweating, or vomiting. They may be replaced through an IV. It will be done carefully to avoid complications of fluid overloading.
Pain medications and sedatives may be used
Anticonvulsants may be prescribed to prevent seizures
To help reduce your chances of getting bacterial meningitis, consider the following steps:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a