Pediatric Meningococcal Meningitis

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Meningococcal Meningitis is the infection and inflammation of the meninges. Newborns and infants are at greatest risk for contracting bacterial meningitis with Neisseria meningitides being the typical pathogen in the majority of children age 2 months through 12 years (London, Ladewig, Ball, Bindler, & Cowen, 2011). There is a mortality rate of 10% for children who develop meningitis from this particular bacterium (Muller, 2013). N. meningitides bacterium responsible for outbreaks in densely populated areas such as childcare centers, boarding schools, or college living areas (Smeltzer, Bare, Hinkle, & Cheever, 2010). These outbreaks are most common in winter and spring months when risk factors like upper respiratory infections are more likely (Smeltzer, Bare, Hinkle, & Cheever, 2010). Immunosuppression must be present for this pathogen to invade. Other risk factors for meningitis are otitis media (middle ear infection), mastoiditis (mastoid bone infection) (Smeltzer, Bare, Hinkle, & Cheever, 2010), systemic sepsis, sinusitis (sinus infection), basilar skull fractures, and the very young and the very old (Porth & Matfin, 2009).
N. meningitides specifically is carried in nasal mucosa and secretions and concentrates in the nasopharynx of those it will infect (Smeltzer, Bare, Hinkle, & Cheever, 2010). Once the offending bacteria reach the central nervous system (CNS), it replicates and undergoes lysis, which releases endotoxins (Porth & Matfin, 2009). These cell
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