Common Symptoms Of Bacterial Meningitis

The human brain and the spinal cord are covered with protective membranes known as meninges. The inflammation of these meninges by bacteria or virus is known as meningitis. Meningitis is of two types; bacterial meningitis and viral meningitis, caused by bacteria and virus respectively. Let us know more on bacterial meningitis.


Bacterial Meningitis


Among the two, the bacterial meningitis is considered to be more serious and fatal, or life threatening, as the infection causes the tissues to swell. This leads to obstructed blood flow, and consequently a stroke or paralysis. Bacterial meningitis can be caused due to numerous bacteria like Neisseria meningitidis or Streptococcus pneumoniae. But most of the times, bacterial meningitis is found to be caused by an impaired or weakened immune system, head injury or infection. Infants and children are mostly found to be susceptible to the disease, but it can also be found in adults. Information on bacterial meningitis incubation period is of a lot of concern, as this period is very uncertain and differs from case to case.


Bacterial Meningitis Symptoms


The most prominent symptoms of bacterial meningitis are high fever, headache and stiffness of the neck. The neck becomes so stiff that the person is unable to lower his head. Sometimes, tricky symptoms like stiffening of the body or skin rash are also observed in babies. The other bacterial meningitis symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Refusal to eat in babies
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • muscle pain
  • Stomach cramps
  • Whimpering cry in babies
  • Seizures
  • Swelling of head in babies
Read more on signs and symptoms of meningitis.


Bacterial Meningitis Incubation Period


Bacterial meningitis incubation period refers to the time gap from when the disease causing bacteria enters the body, to the time when the first symptom is visible. Although the bacterial meningitis incubation period is between 2 - 10 days, sometimes the symptoms can appear in a few hours too.


Is Bacterial Meningitis Contagious?


Bacterial meningitis is mildly contagious, and it spreads only through close contact with the infected person. It spreads when a healthy person comes in contact with the infected person's saliva or nose discharges. It should be remembered that bacterial meningitis does not spread through casual contact like shaking hands or breathing the same air as the infected person. Read more on is meningitis contagious?


Bacterial Meningitis Treatment


Earliest possible treatment is required for meningitis or it can be life threatening. Therefore, even if one suspects symptoms of bacterial meningitis, he must contact the doctor immediately. A sample of the spinal fluid helps in diagnosing the disease. The doctor may even advice you to undergo blood and urine tests. Identification of the disease causing bacteria is the most important aspect before beginning the treatment of bacterial meningitis.


If the symptoms are ignored or not diagnosed in the early stage, one may suffer from severe complications. Mental impairment, paralysis or death can be the result of bacterial meningitis being left untreated. Therefore, early diagnosis is important for recovery.


A course of antibiotics from the early phase or onset can help in treating the disease completely. The statistics of people dying from bacterial meningitis is relatively low. One should remember that a person can recover from bacterial meningitis if it is diagnosed and treated properly. There are vaccinations available for the prevention of bacterial meningitis, which are very safe and reliable.


Prevention of Bacterial Meningitis


As aforementioned, bacterial meningitis spreads through exchange of bodily fluids; the only way to prevent it is not sharing personal items like toothbrushes, towels or even food and drinks. Vaccination is another effective method to prevent bacterial meningitis. Children, teenagers, old people, people living in large groups like in hostels, should be specially vaccinated in order to avoid bacterial meningitis. Sometimes, in certain countries, there may be an epidemic of bacterial meningitis. If you are thinking of traveling, you should make sure that the place is safe for visiting.


You can also read more on:

  • Complications of Meningitis in Children
  • Meningitis Symptoms in Children
I hope the article was helpful in providing information on bacterial meningitis, and also on bacterial meningitis incubation period.

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Posted on Feb 14, 2010