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- The ARC - California Edition -

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Bacterial Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection of the covering or lining of the brain and spinal cord. This disease can be caused by a viral or a bacterial infection. The effects of viral caused meningitis are important and must be considered serious, but in many cases the symptoms are so mild that the patient does not even see a physician. 

The more critical form of meningitis is caused by bacteria. Bacterial meningitis invariably comes to medical attention; if ignored, this disease may lead to brain damage, hearing loss, recurrent convulsions, or even death. 

The leading cause of the bacterial-based infections is the haemophilus influenzae type b. As most PN readers know, there is a vaccine available for HIB and as a result of that vaccine the number of cases caused by HIB have dropped by about 98% over the past dozen years. But there are other bacterium that can and do cause meningitis. And remember, there are infants, children and adults who have never obtained the HIB vaccinee — but they should. 

It is extremely important that you learn to be able to recognize the symptoms of Bacterial Meningitis. These symptoms may occur something like this: 

A child has a cold or a sore throat. Soon, the youngster starts getting irritable, running a high fever, complaining of a headache, and vomits. By now, you should be have looked up your doctor’s phone number and made an appointment. 

Then you notice that the muscles in the child’s neck and elsewhere are stiffening. The child is becoming delirious, slips into a coma, and/or having convulsions. Forget that doctor’s appointment, SEEK emergency medical care NOW. 

Without treatment, the disease may be lethal, and the danger increases with youth; a very young child or infant could die within hours of the time the first signs of illness appear.


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