Meningitis

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meningitis is a scary disease because it seems almost like a severe bout of influenza. By the time you figure out what bug you actually have, the case can be so critical it can cause permanent damage and, in rare cases, even death. Dr. Edward Hill discusses meningitis in todays 60 Second Housecall

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. The inflammation is usually caused by bacteria or viruses.

Many of the bacteria or viruses that can cause meningitis are fairly common and are associated with other everyday illnesses. Sometimes they spread to the meninges from an infection in another part of the body, such as an ear or sinus infection.

Viral meningitis is relatively common and usually less serious than bacterial meningitis. It often remains undiagnosed because its symptoms are similar to those of the common flu. Most people have a slight headache and fever.

Bacterial meningitis is much more serious and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. It occurs in people of all ages but is more common in young infants, children, and the elderly. College students are also slightly more at risk for the disease because of time spent in close contact with their peers.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.