Meningitis Essay

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In nineteenth century Geneva, a family came down with a strange disease— one that had never previously been diagnosed. In a short time, many people in their town were infected and thirty-three people were left dead. This strange disease was later determined to be meningitis. In 1806, the United States saw its first outbreak of meningitis in Massachusetts. It was not until 1887, however, that Professor Anton Weichselbaum was able to determine a cause of meningitis: a bacterium called Neisseria meningitides. Penicillin was first used to combat meningitis in 1944, and in 1978, a vaccine became available. The usage of vaccines was detrimental in the battle to gain control over the spread of meningitis (7). Even with these vaccines, however, …show more content…

Nesseria meningitides can be part of the normal flora of the upper part of the respiratory tract (19). It is a pathenogenic, gram-negative aerobe, which resides primarily in mucous membranes. The shape of the bacterium is diplococci (11). Nesseria meningitides is heterotrophic and reproduces by way of binary fission (12).
Viral meningitis is more common, but not nearly as severe (8). It is hardly ever fatal and mostly caused by enteroviruses. Other viruses can induce a person to contract viral meningitis. These include: mumps, herpes, measles, and varicella-zoster. Even an infection from a mosquito bite could potentially turn into a case of viral meningitis (4)! Fungal meningitis, which can also be deadly, is mostly caused by Cryptococcus and Candida. The people affected with fungal meningitis are mostly those who have an inadequate immune system (3). A person may not know he or she has meningitis right away. Many symptoms are analogous to the flu. These symptoms include a stiff neck, headache, fever, chills, nausea, light sensitivity, and possible changes in mental state (8). Even after a person recovers from meningitis, they can still suffer from long-term effects such as brain damage, kidney damage, loss of hearing, amputations, and scarring (6). To accurately diagnose meningitis, a lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, is performed and tests are run on the cerebrospinal fluid

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