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Pneumococcal fulminant meningitis: symptoms, causes and remedies

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Pneumococcal fulminant meningitis: symptoms, causes and remedies

The 15-month-old boy died of a Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. In addition to meningitis, it can cause many other diseases

Everyone was struck by the story of the little one Christian Lozovyywho died at just 15 months of a bacterial meningitis. Son of two parents of Ukrainian origin, Olesya Stavchanska and Nazariy Lozovyy, who had lived in Italy for many years, the little boy was born and lived in Cavarzano, a hamlet of Belluno. He operated initially at the San Martino hospital due to high feverwas then moved to the hospital in Padua, where he died.

Fulminant meningitis: causes and symptoms

As you can guess from the word itself, meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, i.e. the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. It is a disease of the central nervous system and in most cases it is of infectious origin, therefore caused by bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. We speak of meningoencephalitis when there is a meningitic symptomatology associated with an encephalitis. THE symptoms of acute meningitis are high fever, headache and neck stiffness to which others can be added ranging from vomiting to muscle contractures, from photophobia, i.e. the inability to bear light, to phonophobia (inability to bear noise), convulsions and alterations of the state of consciousness. Irritability and drowsiness may occur in children.

Acute meningitis: diagnosis and treatment

As we have seen, the symptoms of meningitis are very varied and could suggest different types of diseases. For this, for the precise diagnosis cerebrospinal fluid analysis is needed, that fluid which is enclosed between the meninges and the central nervous system. You need one to get it lumbar puncture inserting a needle into the vertebral canal. Once the diagnosis is made, treatment with antibiotics or antivirals is started. Corticosteroids may also be needed depending on the situation.

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What can cause acute meningitis

This disease unfortunately can lead to serious consequences if action is not taken in time. It can cause permanent damage such as epilepsy, hydrocephalus, deafness, cognitive deficits. Fortunately, today there are vaccines for some forms of meningitis, those caused by meningococci, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococci or mumps virus.

What other diseases does pneumococcus cause

Little Christian had pneumococcal meningitis, lo Streptococcus pneumoniae which in adults is primarily responsible for pneumonia. It is a bacterium that can cause different kinds of diseases, from those invasive such as meningitis, but also endocarditis, sepsis, endocarditis, bacteremia, osteomyelitis, arthritis, peritonitis, for example others less invasive and more easily overcome such as bronchitis, sinusitis, conjunctivitis and otitis.

Pneumococcal vaccine

Children and subjects considered at risk can get vaccinated free of charge. There are two types of vaccine

  • il heptavalent “conjugate” vaccinewhich protects against seven subtypes that are responsible for almost all cases of meningitis and sepsis from pneumococcus (and this is what is done to children);
  • il 23-valent vaccinewhich protects against 23 serotypes that are responsible for about 90% of cases of pneumonia and is administered to children over two years of age and to adults.

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