Meningitis Types

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Meningitis is an inflammation of the coverings of the brain and the spinal cord. That kind of inflammation can be very, very serious. Viral meningitis is an inflammation of that covering of the brain caused by a variety of different viruses.

Bacterial meningitis is caused by a variety of different kinds of bacteria. The most common ones that the general public is familiar with are meningococci. The meningococcus lives in the human host. It can be carried in the nasal pharynx. And from that location, they can actually, through close contact, be transmitted to others.

Meningococcal meningitis usually begins in a very insidious way. The individual feels not really terribly ill. They have some aches and pains, a low grade fever. They've usually lost their appetite. And they feel kind of lethargic.

These features can progress really quite rapidly to what's obviously a much more grave illness. And if you get to the doctor late, you can actually have your arms, your fingers, the tips of your nose, your ears, your legs affected. And many survivors are amputees.

And despite the best therapies we have available in this country here in the 21st century, we still have fatality rates that are around 10%. That's one in 10. So that's very serious. You have to get seen, diagnosed, and treatment started early.