Meningitis is the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord (meninges) caused by bacteria or viruses. Typical symptoms include severe headaches, fever and a stiff neck. It is usually treated with antibiotics and anti-viral medication; some vaccinations (“tick vaccination”) help to prevent infection.
- New and intense headaches
- Fever (often accompanied by chills)
- Stiff neck (head can't bend forward because this stretches the inflamed meninges and is painful)
- Nausea, dizziness and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Double vision, hearing defects
- Disorientation, seizures and paralysis indicate severe inflammation
- Patients who are severely ill have a distinctive, reddish-blue rash (petechiae - caused by bleeding under the skin)
Meningitis caused by bacteria usually starts with a sudden high fever which continues to rise. Meningitis caused by viruses usually has a milder progression.
Causes and treatment
Bacteria: transmitted by droplet infection (coughing, sneezing)
- Haemophilus influenza type B
Other triggers include a number of viruses, and very seldom also fungi or parasites.
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
- Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (search for bacteria and inflammatory markers)
- Blood test (search for bacteria)
- CT scan (computed tomography)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Antibiotics (for bacteria)
- Anti-viral medication
What can I do myself?
There are vaccinations against some meningitis pathogens:
brain fever, tick vaccination, meningitis and encephalitis, TBE, flu, antibiotics, abscess, sepsis, epilepsy