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Meningitis is deadly;Causes, origin and treatment are discussed below

Meningitis is one of the most dangerous disease affecting the meninges and it is being caused by diplococci neisseria under neisseria meningitidis.

In this article i am going to depict its characteristics,causes,prevention and causes among other features.


• Gram-negative intra cellular diplococci. 

• Present in the nasopharynx in 5-10% of healthy people. 

• Oxidase positive

• Are pilliated

• Has prominent polysaccharide capsule which is absent in gonococcus.

• Sensitive to temperatures – optimal temperature 37°c

•Classified based on meningococcal capsular into 13 serotypes.

Habitat: nasopharynx

Transmission: respiratory droplets

Clinical manifestation:

• 2 important manifestation:

i. Meningococcal meningitis: (fever, headache, stiff neck.)

ii. Meningococcemia: (waterhouse-frederichsen syndrome: high fever, shock, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), 

thrombocytopenia, adrenal insufficiency)


Incubation: 3-4 days

• Meningococci attach to the epithelial cells of the nasopharynx with the aid of pilli and possibly by other outer membrane components

• Enter oropharyngeal mucosa

• Cross the mucosal barrier

• Enter the bloodstream producing bacteremia fever.

• Can then spread to specific sites such as meninges or joints or may be disseminated throughout the body (meningococcemia).

Laboratory diagnosis:

Specimen: Cerebrospinal fluid and blood.

Smear: Gram-negative intracellular diplococci.

Culture: Transparent or grey, shiny, mucoid colonies in chocolate agar after incubation at 35-37°c in a CO2 enriched atmosphere. 

• Biochemical reaction: Oxidase positive.

•Ferment glucose and maltose in carbohydrate utilization test. 

Serology: Latex agglutination test/ Hemmagglutination test.

Treatment: Penicillin-allergic patients are treated with third- generation cephalosporins or chloramphenicol.

Prevention and control

•Chemoprophylaxis( Rifampin or minocycline) for house holds or close contacts

•Avoidance of over crowding

•Vaccination with polyvalent conjugate vaccine to high risk areas.

•NB: Meningococcal meningitis occurs in epidemics in Africa and named as Meningitis belt. 

• Neisseria. meningitidis sero-group A is the cause of African meningitis epidemic.

• During epidemics, the carrier state rises from 5-10% to 70-80%. Rifampicin is used as prophylactic drug to reduce the carrier state during epidemics and given to house hold and other close contacts. 

To avoid contracting the disease above you should be much careful by following the control measures.

Content created and supplied by: Nathoo (via Opera News )


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