What is Aseptic Meningitis?
Meningitis is a condition that causes the membranes covering your brain and spinal cord to become inflamed. Sometimes, this inflammation is due to bacterial infection. When bacteria are not causing the inflammation or if the bacterial organism cannot be grown and identified in the laboratory, it is called aseptic meningitis. The majority of the cases of aseptic meningitis are caused by viruses.
Aseptic meningitis most commonly occurs in infants and young children. Although aseptic meningitis can make you feel ill, it is typically milder than bacterial meningitis. According to the Mayo Clinic, serious complications are rare and you will most likely feel completely better within two weeks
What is Meningitis?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges. This is the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis may occur when fluid surrounding the meninges becomes infected.
The most common causes of meningitis are due.to viral and bacterial infections. Meningitis is contagious. It can be transmitted by coughing, sneezing or close contact. Other causes include:
Aseptic (Viral) Meningitis
Viral meningitis usually occurs in children under the age of five. It is most common during the early fall. Thirty percent of cases are caused by enteroviruses. These viruses normally cause intestinal illnesses. West Nile virus, and influenza can also cause meningitis.
Viral meningitis is more common in adults under the age of 30 than in older adults. Outcomes are usually better than bacterial meningitis. It can resolve on its own.
Bacterial meningitis is contagious. It can also be life-threatening. Up to 40 percent of children and half of adults with this condition die. This is true even with proper treatment. The types of bacterial meningitis are:
There are several other types of meningitis. Cryptococcal is caused by a type of yeast. Carcinomatous is cancer-related.
Nonbacterial Causes of Meningitis
About half of all aseptic meningitis cases are caused by common seasonal viruses in the late summer and early fall. You can catch these viruses by coming into contact with an infected person’s cough, saliva, or fecal matter. Other viruses that can cause meningitis include the following:
•herpes simplex (typically Type 2)
Your doctor may suspect that the meningitis is being caused by a virus, but will not be able to identify the specific type of virus.
Other conditions that may cause aseptic meningitis in rare cases include:
Aseptic meningitis may develop rapidly or over the course of several weeks, depending on the type of organism that is responsible.
Bacterial Meningitis is infection of the meningeal tissues of the human brain and spinal cord.
There are many causative organisms such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis. The signs and symptoms present as headaches, neck pain and sensitivity towards sunlight. A Fever may also accompany the symptoms.
Acute bacterial meningitis is treated with a prescription antibiotic. It is important to determine the type of bacteria involved in the infection and tailor the specific antibiotic for the particular use, despite the fact that generally in most cases, treatment is commenced using a broad spectrum antibiotic.
Fortunately, most cases of acute meningitis can be prevented by means of a vaccination.
In infants and young children, Streptococcus pneumoniae is the organism most frequently associated with bacterial meningitis. Haemophilus influenzae type B was widespread in the past, but with the development of a vaccine and it's use in children, cases of meningitis have been reduced significantly.